Toyota take Le Mans one-two double
Monday 17 June, 2019
Photos: Michelin Motorsport
Toyota has enjoyed a sensational outing during the prestigious 24 Hour of Le Mans, claiming a well deserved one-two as Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi, and Kazuki Nakajima sealed the victory.
Despite the trio picking up the win in the iconic endurance race, it was heartbreak for their Toyota teammates in Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez, who had led for a majority of the race.
With only an hour to go in the race and the #7 entry almost certain to cross the line first, Lopez picked up a puncture and went back into the pits for a quick tyre change.
It was during the stop when the problems began as the crew changed the wrong wheel and the Argentine was forced to head back to the pits on the next lap, allowing Nakajima to overtake and claim a second consecutive victory for the team.
The Le Mans victory also saw the trio pick up the 2018/19 World Endurance Championship title and Alonso was quick to place luck as the main factor behind their win.
“It was luck that gave us the trophy, we’ll take it, because motor sport is like that. I hope they’ll win next year," Alonso said.
It was a less successful day for the event’s two Australians as neither Matt Campbell or Ryan Briscoe were able to secure victory in their classes, with the former coming fifth in the LMGTE AM class, while Briscoe finished sixth in the LMGTE Pro
It was a disappointing to way to go out for Campbell after he and his Dempsey Proton Racing teammates Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer qualified second in class, only to drop down the order after having to stop for a new nose during the night.
As for Briscoe and teammates Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon, their Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA prepared Ford GT didn’t have the pace nor the power to keep up with the big guns or pass when the opportunity was there.