Alonso team wins 6 Hours of Spa
Fernando Alonso celebrated a winning start to his FIA World Endurance Championship career as he and teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima took a conclusive victory in today’s eventful TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
In the first race of the 2018-19 WEC Super Season the No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing car led the vast majority of the race to head home the sister Toyota TS050 HYBRID of Mike Conway, Jose María L¢pez and Kamui Kobayashi.
Alonso crossed the finish line 1.444s ahead of Mike Conway in a formation finish which was made all the more remarkable by the No.7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID starting from the pit lane, a lap behind the entire field, after a post-qualifying technical infringement.
For Alonso it was his first victory at Spa for almost 18 years and he became the first Spaniard to win a WEC race since Marc Gene triumphed for Audi, also at Spa, in 2012.
Rounding out the podium was the No.1 Rebellion Racing crew of Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna in their first race with the new non-hybrid Rebellion R13-Gibson. However, the car was later disqualified after the post-race measurement of the skid block did not comply with the Technical Regulations.
The sister Rebellion Racing entry of Thomas Laurent, Gustavo Menezes and Mathias Beche took fourth, while the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo took a best ever fifth position.
LMP2 saw G-Drive Racing claim back-to-back Spa wins following their victory in 2017. Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola triumphed after they took control of the race in the second hour.
As G-Drive Racing is not a full-season entrant, the second-placed No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07-Gibson of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi claimed the maximum points score.
2016 WEC champions Signatech Alpine Matmut took second position points to add to the one claimed yesterday for pole position.
No.66 Ford GT takes first victory; Aston Martin wins LMGTE Am thriller
Ford celebrated the first LMGTE Pro win of the WEC Super Season at the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps today.
Olivier Pla, Stefan Mucke and Billy Johnson claimed their first WEC victory after a race-long battle with the No.91 Porsche 911 RSR of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz.
The race was effectively won with just 45-minutes to go when Pla was able to execute an audacious overtake on Richard Lietz exiting Raidillon. The No.91 Porsche fell back in the closing stages to fourth place as first the sister No.92 Porsche claimed second and then Davide Rigon swept through to take the final podium position in the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
The No.67 Ford driven by Harry Tincknell crashed spectacularly in the second hour causing the second of three Safety Car periods. The British driver thankfully emerged from the Ford GT uninjured.
BMW made a promising debut at Spa as Antonio Felix da Costa and Tom Blomqvist finished in fifth position to claim useful championship points with the new BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE.
A thrilling LMGTE Pro category saw reigning champions Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda take a record fourth consecutive win at Spa. The No.98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 had a comfortable lead but saw that eroded in the final hour when a Safety Car was deployed.
Lamy was forced into a defensive final stint as Euan Hankey in the TF Sport Aston Martin applied significant pressure. Just 0.2s covered the pair as they crossed the finishing line.
Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin ensured Clearwater Racing Ferrari took third position as they begin their second season in the WEC.
The next round of the WEC Super Season will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 16/17th June.
TS050 HYBRID #7
Race: 2nd, 163 laps, 8 pit stops. Started from pit lane. Fastest lap: 1min 57.442secs
Mike Conway (TS050 HYBRID #7): “It was weird starting from the pit lane but we knew what we had to do. We had some help from the safety car periods and the full course yellows, which went our way and helped us to get into the fight with the other LMP1 ones. Kamui and Jose did a great job again today. It’s disappointing not to win but a one-two is the perfect result for the team.”
Kamui Kobayashi (TS050 HYBRID #7): “Our car worked really hard to get back into the fight; I think we all drove really well to recover from the problem in qualifying. The car was quick today which is a good sign for Le Mans. Obviously I was hoping to win this race so second place isn’t the result I wanted but for the team it’s a positive start and we will all work hard now to be ready for Le Mans.”
Jose María L¢pez (TS050 HYBRID #7): “I am very happy with this result for the team. Starting from the back was very hard and didn’t give us the best opportunity bit in the end we fought back and we showed the potential of car #7. I enjoyed the fight today. Finally to be back racing, particularly at this amazing circuit, was something special.”
TS050 HYBRID #8
Race: 1st, 163 laps, 9 pit stops. Grid: 1st. Fastest lap: 1min 57.805secs
Kazuki Nakajima (TS050 HYBRID #8): “I am very happy to win the first race of the season. It’s particularly nice because my stint started badly; a lot happened and it cost us some time. There was a mistake from my side as well but from then I got back into the rhythm. The triple stint was tricky but I am happy with the job we did. It’s a great start and we will be working hard to make sure we continue like this.”
Fernando Alonso (TS050 HYBRID #8): “I am delighted to get this result. The whole weekend has been amazing in terms of team performance. There have been a lot of preparations with the winter testing and all the work back at the factory but we have to come to the race and deliver the result. We executed the race in the best way we could and I am extremely happy to win my
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