Fernando Alonso wins on debut in 24 Hours Le Mans race

20 June, 2018, 04:29 | Author: Isabel Grant
  • IMSA at Le Mans Ford to start third in GTE Pro			Image by LePage  LAT

We'll come to the drivers later!

Toyota are the only major manufacturer competing in the top LMP1 class after champions Porsche quit the World Endurance Championship past year, and have only themselves to beat.

Buemi admitted that the aformentioned penalty cast doubts in his minds that winning the race was possible. The Spaniard won the race on his first attempt to give the Japanese manufacturer, which had at times seemed jinxed, victory on its 20th attempt.

Fernando Alonso shared the number eight Toyota TS050 hybrid with Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi. Alonso's only wins since the 2013 F1 Shanghai Grand Prix have been the 6 Hours of Spa earlier this year, and now the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend. While the Spaniard's victory would be the highlight of this crew, it wouldn't be possible without the team effort put in by the rest of the ex-F1 driver lineup.

The reaction of the F1 world will be mighty interesting!

The Japanese driver had an advantage of 12.5 seconds over Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 vehicle, with Kobayashi stepping in after Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez finished their first periods of driving.

Amongst the privateer non-hybrid LMP1s it is clear that the path of least resistance was the least obstructed!

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The #31 Dragonspeed lost time early on after the front right tyre came off the vehicle placing 23rd overall, while another debutant, Felipe Nasr in the #47 Villorba Corse, also found the gravel at the first Mulsanne chicane, placing 33rd.

That left a Dunlop-dominated top six, a sextet which also saw only one non-ORECA chassis, this the #32 United Autosports Ligier.

Alonso then jumped behind the wheel for his race-changing second drive at around 1:30 am.

His auto went in to Le Mans as strong favourite and the classic event has now been ticked off in clinical style. "To win Le Mans for TOYOTA after so many frustrations and disappointments is a truly magical moment". The number 3 Rebellion, which does not have hybrid power, finished third, 12 laps behind.

GTE Pro was another race that saw a lot of pre-event tittle tattle, this time nearly exclusively around Balance of Performance.

With the two races expected to clash again next season, some have speculated that he may look to leave F1 at the end of the year in order to focus entirely on the IndyCar series. The trio led all the way en route to their first Le Mans victory.

Indeed, Toyota has been campaigning at Le Mans for years.

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