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Buemi, Nakajima and Alonso claim elusive Le Mans victory for Toyota

The #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry for Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso won the 86th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours - finally breaking Toyota's duck at the race after a number of near-misses in recent years.

They beat the sister #7 car of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López by two laps after the #7 suffered a number of penalties during the race.

There was also a moment late on when Kobayashi appeared to be going slowly on track as he had missed a call to pit for fuel and had to slow drastically in order to get enough fuel to get to the pits.

Rounding off the podium was the #3 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R13 – Gibson of Thomas Laurent, Mathias Beche and Gustavo Menezes despite not having anywhere near the pace of the Toyota's.

Fourth place was the sister Rebellion R13 running the #1 for Techeetah's André Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna with the only other LMP1 car to finish the race, the #5 CEFC TRSM Ginetta G60-LT-P1 – Mecachrome of Charlie Robertson, Mike Simpson and Leo Roussel finishing in 42nd place after a multitude of issues all race.

The #6 Ginetta of Oliver Rowland, Alex Brundle and NIO's Oliver Turvey were one of the retirements from the race as they suffered from electrical issues.

The #4 ByKolles Racing Team Enso CLM P1/01 – Nismo of Oliver Webb, Dominik Kraihamer and sometime Venturi racer Tom Dillmann were one of the first retirements after a heavy crash for Kraihamer at the Porsche Curves after contact with the #80 Ebimotors Porsche 911 RSR.

The #17 SMP Racing BR1 – AER of MS&AD Andretti's Stéphane Sarrazin, Egor Orudzhev and Matevos Isaakyan was also involved in an incident at the Porsche Curves with Isaakyan behind the wheel.

The LMP2 class was won by the #26 G-Drive Oreca 07 of Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Techeetah's Jean-Éric Vergne after they executed a near faultless race.

In second was the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 for Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet with the Graff-SO24 Oreca of Vincent Capillaire, Jonathan Hirschi and Tristan Gommendy rounding out the podium in the class - just ahead of the #28 RDS Racing entry of former Dragon Racing driver Loïc Duval and fellow Frenchmen François Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxivière.

Jaguar's test and reserve driver Ho-Pin Tung and his co-drivers, Stéphane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry had a few minor issues, most notably when Tung had to be pushed into the pit box for the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca en-route to eighth in class.

Meanwhile former Team Aguri racer Nathanaël Berthon saw the #31 Dragonspeed Oreca 07 – Gibson entry he was sharing with Roberto González & Pastor Maldonado being forced to retire from the race.

The GTE-Pro class saw Porsche take home a 1-2 finish with the #92 of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor beating the #91 of Richard Leitz, Gianmaria Bruni and Techeetah tester Frédéric Makowiecki.

Rounding out the class podium was the #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA entry for Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais.

The highest placed Formula E driver in the class was NIO's test and reserve driver, Harry Tincknell in the #67 Ford GT run by Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK alongside Andy Priaulx and Tony Kannan and they managed fourth in class.

The next highest driver was Sam Bird in the #71 AF Corse Ferarri 488 which he shared with Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon, who were tenth in class.

The last Formula E driver to finish in the class was Alex Lynn in the #97 Aston Martin alongside Jonny Adam and Maxime Martin. They finished thirteenth after a number of long trips to the garage for repair work to carried out.

The #82 BMW M8 GTE retired with Alex Sims behind the wheel and he went off at the Porsche Curves and damaged the back of the car. The other drivers in that car were MS&AD Andretti's António Félix da Costa and Brazilian veteran Augusto Farfus.

The GTE-Am category was won by the #77 Dempsey- Proton Competition Porsche of Christian Ried, Julian Andlauer and Matt Campbell ahead of the Spirit of Race Ferrari #54 of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castelacci and Giancarlo Fisichella.

The class podium was rounded off by the Keating Motorsports Ferrari #85 for Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Luca Stolz.

Photo courtesy of FIA WEC.

Rob Lomas

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