Le Mans 24h: Alonso, Buemi, Nakajima win again for Toyota
Toyota sealed its second Le Mans 24 Hours victory in expectedly dominant style, but a late drama for the #7 car handed another win to Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
The #7 TS050 Hybrid looked to have an edge over the sister car - and Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez looked well set for a straightforward victory over the #8 car until drama struck the trio with just over an hour of the race remaining.
Lopez had more than two minutes in hand when he pitted to replace a suspected front-right puncture, but it was in fact the right-rear that needed changing, forcing the Argentinian to limp back to the pits. He resumed 50s down on Nakajima in the #8 car once the issue was solved.
After assuming the lead when Nakajima made his final routine stop, Lopez pitted for the final time with 20 minutes to go and took the flag only 16s in arrears.Victory for Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi also guaranteed them FIA World Endurance Championship honours, with Buemi earning that accolade for the second time after his 2014 triumph.
The best of the non-hybrid LMP1s dropped off the lead lap early in hour five, and by the finish the third-placed car, SMP Racing's #11 BR Engineering BR1, was six laps down on the winning car.
Le Mans debutant Stoffel Vandoorne and his teammates in the #11 car, Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov, enjoyed a virtually-trouble free run to ensure SMP came out on top against its main rival Rebellion Racing, which suffered dramas with both of its R-13s.GTE Pro: Ferrari wins after Corvette heartbreak
Ferrari scored its first GTE Pro class victory since 2014 thanks to the efforts of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra in the #51 AF Corse 488 GTE.
The vagaries of the safety car periods had essentially turned the battle for honours into a two-horse race between the #51 Ferrari and the #63 Corvette of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller heading into the morning hours.
However, the 21st-hour intervention caused by Nyck de Vries’ high-speed off in the Racing Team Nederland Dallara at Indianapolis led to the #63 car getting held at the end of pitlane, which handed the #51 Ferrari a one-minute lead it would never lose.
Any chance of Corvette salvaging a podium finish was lost when Magnussen spun at the Porsche Curves, making light contact with the barriers, which cost the car two laps. A further 15-minute trip to the garage left it five laps off the pace.
Corvette had already lost one car when Marcel Fassler hit the barriers at the same part of the track with force towards the end of the sixth hour, the result of contact with the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Satoshi Hoshino for which the stewards judged Fassler to blame.Full results on linkKeating Motorsports' privateer Ford GT, piloted by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, held on for a narrow win in GTE Am, surviving a late scare when owner-driver Keating picked up a stop-and-go-penalty.
The Wynn's-liveried #85 machine had led by as much as a lap, but in the closing hours the #56 Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey had worked its way back into the fray even before Keating earned his penalty for spinning his wheels in a pitstop.
That infraction reduced a 36s lead to less than 5s, but Bleekemolen was able to pull away in the final hour to secure victory by around 50s, helped by a late splash for Bergmeister - who nonetheless sealed WEC GTE Am class title honours along with his teammates.