TOYOTA GAZOO Racing wins FIA World Endurance Championship Team’s Title
Back where the first victory was won
It was the penultimate race however the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team have already secured the FIA World Endurance Championship Team’s Title, due to points amassed over the season. The team currently sits at the top of the leadership board with the most points and other teams are unable to catch them up.
The Spa-Francorchamps race proved challenging but the team powered through. Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso finished in first place in their #8 TS050 HYBRID, after beginning their winning streak at Spa-Franchorchamps 12 months ago.
The #7 TS050 HYBRID consisting of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, had a strong start and even set the fastest lap. The team were tested mid-race but pushed through adversity, achieving a final place in the top six.
Adverse weather conditions
For the first time in history, snow fell during a WEC race, beginning soon after the start and forcing a safety car to enter the track 30 minutes in, due to the adverse weather conditions. After 25 minutes the sunshine reappeared and the race continued with Mike leading and Sébastien following closely in second. He soon overtook Mike on lap 19, securing the lead.
Pit lane pressures
Not long afterwards, an accident occurred leading to the safety car making another appearance and Sébastien was forced to make a fuel stop whilst the pit lane was closed.
Once the pit lane re-opened, Mike stopped to refuel and switch to slick tyres, whilst Sébastien made his regular fuel stop, costing him time and a drop down to 10th place.
Undeterred, Sébastien made a comeback, using his slick tyres to his advantage and climbing up to second place around the two-hour mark, after both cars were pitted under a full course yellow – Kamui then took over the #7 and Fernando the #8.
Sensor issues and securing a victory
Halfway through the race, the #7 had to deal with sensor issues which put them behind. However, through snow and heavy hail storms they fought back with Kamui finishing in the top six and Fernando flying to first place in the #8, leading by over a lap. The #3 Rebellion followed in second place and the 11 #SMP in third.
Both cars have had a tremendous season and this race proved the sheer determination and talent of the drivers and reliability of their vehicles, as they enter the final race, the Le Mans 24 Hours on 15-16 June, head and shoulders above the rest.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing succeeds in WRC
Meanwhile, in the WRC the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally team are also having a great season, gaining their second victory of the season at the first ever running of Rally Chile. Ott Tänak executed a brilliant performance, achieving the fastest time on the rally-ending Power Stage. He acquired extra points allowing the team to reach second place in the driver’s championship, only 10 points behind the leader.
He and co-driver Martin Järveoja bagged an overall victory by 23.1 seconds, whilst teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke also excelled in the Power Stage setting the third and fifth best times and remaining in second place in the manufacturer’s championship. The WRC returns for Rally Portugal on 30th May – 2nd June.