Toyota take another one-two after crashes for Ferrari and Cadillac at Spa

WEC Hypercar

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Toyota Gazoo Racing scored their third consecutive win in as many races in the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, and clinched their second one-two.

Meanwhile in the LMGTE Am category, 19-year-old Lilou Wadoux has become the first woman to score a class win in the World Endurance Championship.

Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez, and team principal Kamui Kobayashi drove a flawless race in the number seven Toyota GR010 Hybrid. The track was wet in the opening and Conway started the race from pole position on slick tyres. He struggled in the opening laps and lost several positions to drivers on wet weather rubber, but once the track dried out and he was able to put heat into his tyres, he retook the lead and drove away from the rest of the field.

From there, it was as simple as Conway passing the baton to Lopez, who then passed the baton over to Kobayashi, who brought the car home after six hours and 148 laps of racing. It’s their second win of the season and a much-needed recovery from a difficult Six Hours of Portimao, where the car suffered a drivetrain problem.

From 36th place on the 37-car grid (following the withdrawal of the number 56 Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR), the sister Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Ryo Hirakawa, and Brendon Hartley finished in second place, to maintain their joint lead in the World Endurance Hypercar Drivers’ Championship.

Toyota’s closest brush with catastrophe was a close call in the final hour at the top of Raidillon, where Hartley rejoined after a pit stop on cold tyres just as Kobayashi was approaching. Kobayashi drove around Hartley in the run-off to avoid a collision. The number seven Toyota was given a five-second time penalty after the race for the out-of-bounds overtake, but that did not affect the final result.

Ferrari-AF Corse took the final podium position on the last lap as James Calado overtook Frederic Makowiecki’s Penske Porsche with a significant pace advantage. Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Antonio Giovinazzi in the number 51 Ferrari led the race early on when Giovinazzi took the start on wet tyres.

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Giovinazzi’s advantage on wet rubber only lasted until the first Safety Car intervention, when Claudio Schiavoni in the number 60 Iron Lynx Porsche 911 RSR spun off into the gravel less than ten minutes into the race. On the ensuing restart he was quickly passed and dropped down the order. Making matters worse, the Ferrari 499Ps had a nightmarish time trying to get heat into their fresh sets of slick tyres and at one point they dropped off the lead lap.

Only one Ferrari saw the chequered flag after Fuoco crashed
That same trouble with cold tyres also caused Antonio Fuoco to crash out in the number 50 Ferrari with just over 90 minutes left in the race. Fuoco spun the tyres in fourth gear on the run from La Source to Eau Rouge, veered off to the left and crashed into the armco barrier. Fuoco let out a scream of fury in his helmet and once again, the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest)’s ban on tyre warmers was called into question after a professional driver crashed a Hypercar on their own trying to put heat into their tyres.

The number five Porsche Penske Motorsports 963 dropped to fourth in the end. Dane Cameron, Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki almost had their second podium in a row but it was not to be, as Makowiecki’s pace dropped off late in his final stint and left him vulnerable to Calado passing him into Les Combes. It was still the highest-finishing LMDh (Le Mans Daytona Hybrid) on the day, ahead of the number two Cadillac Racing V-Series.R in fifth.

Renger van der Zande’s shocking crash aboard the number three Cadillac brought out the Safety Car in the second hour of the race. The Dutch driver walked away after his yellow and grey Cadillac bottomed out at Eau Rouge, lost steering, and broadsided the tyre barriers.

The number six Penske Porsche dropped out of the race with a mechanical problem. Laurens Vanthoor came to a stop at the frontstretch while running inside the overall top three.

On the other hand, Team Jota brought the first privateer-entered Porsche 963 home in sixth place overall – a great result for the number 38 crew of Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens and Yifei Ye.

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The number 93 Peugeot 9X8 Hybrid was seventh in the Hypercar class but 13th overall, behind the top six in LMP2 – its sister car finished 17th overall. Glickenhaus Racing won the battle of the Hypercar privateers by default after Jacques Villeneuve’s collision with the number 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 of Francesco Castellacci knocked the Vanwall Vandervell 680 out of the race.

A milestone winner was crowned in the LMGTE Am category when Alessio Rovera brought the number 83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE to the chequered flag and secured the class victory – as Wadoux became the first woman in the young history of the WEC to achieve a class win. Wadoux, Rovera, and Luis Perez Companc drove a near flawless race in their own right and Wadoux had the honour of driving her car to the lead in the middle stages of the race.

Second place in GTE Am wasn’t settled until the final corners, but in the end the number 33 Corvette Racing C8.R was able to hold on over the number 25 ORT by TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage. Corvette held on to a substantial lead in the GTE Am Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships.

Likewise there was good action in LMP2. The number 41 Team WRT Oreca 07 of Rui Andrade, Louis Deletraz, and Robert Kubica picked up the win after a fine battle with United Autosports’ Josh Pierson, Tom Blomqvist, and Oliver Jarvis late in the race.

A last-hour charge from Albert Costa gave Inter Europol Competition – the only LMP2 team without ties to a current or pending Hypercar programme – the final LMP2 podium position. Prema’s number 63 car driven by Mirko Bortolotti, Daniil Kvyat and Doriane Pin dropped out of the lead battle after a three-minute penalty stop for violating Safety Car procedures.

The next round for the World Endurance Championship is the race 100 years in the making: The centeniary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, on 11-12 June.

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WEC Six Hours of Spa results

Pos No. Class Team Car Drivers Laps
1 7 Hypercar (Hybrid) Toyota Toyota GR010 Hybrid Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez
2 8 Hypercar (Hybrid) Toyota Toyota GR010 Hybrid Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa 16.637
3 51 Hypercar (Hybrid) Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi 57.802
4 5 Hypercar (Hybrid) Porsche Penske Porsche 963 Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frederic Makowiecki 2.825
5 2 Hypercar (Hybrid) Cadillac Cadillac V-Series.R Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook 1 lap
6 38 Hypercar (Hybrid) Jota Porsche 963 Antonio Felix da Costa/Will Stevens/Yifei Ye 1:04.549
7 41 LMP2 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson Rui Andrade/Robert Kubica/Louis Deletraz 1 lap
8 23 LMP2 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson Joshua Pierson/Tom Blomqvist/Oliver Jarvis 6.042
9 34 LMP2 Inter Europol Oreca 07 – Gibson Jakub Smiechowski/Fabio Scherer/Albert Costa 9.415
10 9 LMP2 Prema Oreca 07 – Gibson Filip Ugran/Bent Viscaal/Andrea Caldarelli 7.649
11 22 LMP2 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson Frederick Lubin/Philip Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque 4.21
12 31 LMP2 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson Sean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns 0.67
13 93 Hypercar (Hybrid) Peugeot Peugeot 9X8 Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric Vergne 5.251
14 708 Hypercar Glickenhaus Glickenhaus 007 Romain Dumas/Oliveir Pla/Franck Mailleux 2.904
15 36 LMP2 Alpine Oreca 07 – Gibson Matthieu Vaxiviere/Julien Canal/Charles Milesi 26.006
16 35 LMP2 Alpine Oreca 07 – Gibson Andre Negrão/Memo Rojas/Oliver Caldwell 17.199
17 94 Hypercar (Hybrid) Peugeot Peugeot 9X8 Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Mueller 9.884
18 28 LMP2 Jota Oreca 07 – Gibson David Heinemeier Hansson/Pietro Fittipaldi/Oliver Rasmussen 1 lap
19 63 LMP2 Prema Oreca 07 – Gibson Doriane Pin/Mirko Bortolotti/Daniil Kvyat 1 lap
20 83 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Luis Perez Companc/Lilou Wadoux/Alessio Rovera 4 laps
21 33 LMGTE Am Corvette Chevrolet Corvette C8.R Ben Keating/Nicolas Varrone/Nicky Catsburg 18.653
22 25 LMGTE Am ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage AMR Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charlie Eastwood 0.249
23 88 LMGTE Am Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR 19 Ryan Hardwick/Zacharie Robichon/Harry Tincknell 1 lap
24 85 LMGTE Am Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR 19 Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey 10.469
25 21 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Stefano Costantini/Simon Mann/Ulysse de Pauw 2.977
26 98 LMGTE Am Northwest AMR Aston Martin Vantage AMR Ian James/Daniel Mancinelli/Alex Riberas 25.178
27 57 LMGTE Am Kessel Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Takeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Daniel Serra 52.841
28 777 LMGTE Am D’Station Aston Martin Vantage AMR Satoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii 1 lap
29 77 LMGTE Am Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR 19 Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer 11
30 60 LMGTE Am Iron Lynx Porsche 911 RSR 19 Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello 1 lap
31 86 LMGTE Am GR Porsche 911 RSR 19 Michael Wainwright/Riccardo Pera/Benjamin Barker 1 lap
32 54 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon 57 laps
33 50 Hypercar (Hybrid) Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P Antonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen 2 laps
34 4 Hypercar Floyd Vanwall Vanwall Vandervell 680 Tom Dillmann/Esteban Guerrieri/Jacques Villeneuve 25 laps
35 6 Hypercar (Hybrid) Porsche Penske Porsche 963 Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor 26 laps
36 3 Hypercar (Hybrid) Cadillac Cadillac V-Series.R Sebastien Bourdais/Renger van der Zande/Jack Aitken 13 laps
37 10 LMP2 Vector Sport Oreca 07 – Gibson Ryan Cullen/Matthias Kaiser/Gabriel Aubry 25 laps

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RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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  • 2 comments on “Toyota take another one-two after crashes for Ferrari and Cadillac at Spa”

    1. Not sure why that D’Station #777 blatantly pushing the Iron Dames off track all the way down the straight going into Eau Rouge wasn’t even investigated. That’s not racing, and is not allowed – at least in theory – in any FIA series.

      Unfortunately the race is being made hard to watch because of all the FCYs. Very disappointed that the FIA/ACO isn’t doing anything with its far superior slow zone technology used to great effect at Le Mans. This constant bunching up of the field is ruining the strategic element of an endurance race, not to mention the spectators of proper racing at all the parts of the track where a yellow flag is not necessary.

    2. “Not sure why that D’Station #777 blatantly pushing the Iron Dames off track all the way down the straight going into Eau Rouge wasn’t even investigated.”

      But it was? They were given a 30 second stop-go.

    Comments are closed.