Alonso takes second Le Mans win and title with Toyota
Alonso takes second Le Mans win and title with Toyota
Le Mans 24 Hours: Fernando Alonso’s Toyota team claim victory in race
17 June, 2019, 09:43
The TS050 Hybrids ran in this order, largely, until the final hours when the No. 7's race fell apart.
The double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso won the Le Mans 24 Hours race for the second year in a row on Sunday with Toyota teammates Kazuki Nakajima and Switzerland's Sebastien Buemi.
The #7 vehicle rejoined the race unscathed but a minute behind its leading sister machine which cruised to a lucky win, offering a consecutive victory at Le Mans and the world title to the Buemi-Nakajima-Alonso line-up.
The No. 7 TS050 Toyota Hybrid seemed to have an edge over the No. 7 vehicle for most of the race and had the chequered flag in site with a consistent lead.
The #7 vehicle - driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez - managed to finish second, about 16 seconds behind the winning auto.
The best of the non-hybrid LMP1s dropped off the lead lap early in hour five, and by the finish the third-placed vehicle, SMP Racing's #11 BR Engineering BR1, was six laps down on the winning auto.
Coming in third were Stoffel Vandoorne, Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin in the No. 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering auto, finishing six laps behind the No. 8 Toyota.
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A faulty tire pressure monitor misled the team to believe the puncture was on the team's left-rear when it was actually the left-front.
This allowed the No. 36 auto to lead to victory unchallenges, while allowing the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca with drivers Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry to take second place. The incident put the auto into the pits a number of times during the race dropping the Rebellion to P5, 15 laps down over the race leader.
In the LMP2 class, Sky F1's Paul Di Resta was fourth and ninth overall as part of the lead United Autosports entry. The Ferrari scored its win with drivers James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra in the No. 51 AF Corse 488 GTE.
The vagaries of the safety auto periods had essentially turned the battle for honours into a two-horse race between the #51 Ferrari and the #63 Corvette of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller heading into the morning hours.
Corvette had already lost one vehicle when Marcel Fassler hit the barriers at the same part of the track with force towards the end of the sixth hour, the result of contact with the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Satoshi Hoshino for which the stewards judged Fassler to blame.
The number eight crew had needed only a top-seven finish to be sure of the title, with the number seven vehicle their sole rivals. The final battle was a head-to-head between Ferrari and Porsche with the former bringing the title home.
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