Toyota 1-2 at Spa; Alonso wins FIA WEC debut

May 5, 2018

Toyota 1-2 at Spa; Alonso wins FIA WEC debut

May 5, 2018

Toyota Gazoo Racing has its first 1-2 finish in the first race of the 2018-’19 FIA World Endurance Championship “Super Season.”

The pair of Toyota TS050 Hybrids eventually ran in lockstep in Saturday’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The No. 8 car emerged ahead of the No. 7 car by just 1.444 seconds at the end of six hours.

Fernando Alonso has now won his FIA WEC debut, and co-drove the winning car with Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.

Alonso withstood a late race charge from teammate Mike Conway in the sister No. 7 car to hold on for the win. Conway shared his car with Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez. The No. 7 car started from the rear of the field, a lap down, following the discovery of an incorrect ID number for its fuel flow meter.

Alonso is racing in the FIA WEC and Formula 1 this season, where he races with McLaren Renault.

Rebellion Racing’s pair of Rebellion R13 Gibsons completed their first race in third and fourth, with the trio of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Bruno Senna last car on the LMP1 and overall podium.

Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK had a mixed day, split between a heavy accident but also the GTE-Pro class victory.

Harry Tincknell had a near identical accident in the race as Pietro Fittipaldi had on Friday. Tincknell emerged unharmed from the No. 67 Ford GT, but it ended the race for the polesitting entry he shared with Andy Priaulx and Tony Kanaan.

With only one car remaining, Ford still took the top honors with Olivier Pla, Stefan Muecke and Billy Johnson in the No. 66 Ford GT.

This marks the first time the Pla/Muecke full-season pairing has won a GTE-Pro class race in the No. 66 Ford GT. They were the top finishing FIA WEC full-season entry at Le Mans in class in 2016, but were fourth behind three IMSA-entered cars from Ford and Risi Competizione Ferrari.

Porsche’s No. 92 car of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre was second, ahead of AF Corse’s No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon. The Ferrari edged ahead of the second Porsche for the final podium spot in the waning minutes.

The No. 82 BMW M8 GTE and No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage finished fifth and sixth in class, the best spots for the new cars in their FIA WEC race debuts.

G-Drive Racing, run by TDS, captured the LMP2 class win as a wild card entry. This particular No. 26 Oreca 07 Gibson of Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola is not a full-season FIA WEC car.

In GTE-Am, Aston Martin’s older-specification Vantage V8 showed it still has life left in it. The No. 98 car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda held off the sister No. 90 car from TF Sport racing for the class win, by just 0.221 of a second.

Next up for the FIA WEC is the pinnacle race of the championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Test Day is June 3 with the race June 16-17.


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