The #7 Toyota won the opening round of 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 4 Hours of Silverstone in mixed weather conditions.
It was a dominant victory for #7 Toyota crew of Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway in the 4 Hours of Silverstone, the first round of the 2019/20 WEC season.
The #8 Toyota crew of Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley came home in a close second place in a 1-2 finish in the LMP1 category, having endured traffic, full course yellows, safety cars and a mid-race shower.
The #3 Rebellion Racing Gisbson of Pipo Derani, Loic Duval and Nathanel Berthon were third with newcomers #5 Team LNT Ginetta of Egor Orudzhev, Ben Hanley and Charlie Robertson in fourth.
The 4 Hours of Silverstone got off to a clean start with all the 31 cars getting away cleanly. An early safety car was introduced as LMP2 class’ Paul Di Resta’s #22 United Autosports Oreca car came to a grinding halt on the pit straight.
It was an electrical problem similar to the one they had on Saturday. The race was underway on Lap 5 but the safety car was re-introduced on Lap 14, when the #6 Team LNT Ginetta of Oliver Jarvis, Michael Simpson and Guy Smith lost its right rear tyre and limped in the pits for a tyre change.
The #1 Rebellion car took the lead under the safety car due to others pitting but it was a brief run with the #8 Toyota getting back ahead. While it was quiet at the front, the LMGTE Am class had a serious fight.
The heavens opened up 90 minutes into the race at Silverstone with the Toyotas gambling to stay out which back-fired as Rebellion once again headed the field, but the boost from the hybrid system helped the Toyota’s to retake the lead in the next few laps.
It was back to a Toyota 1-2 with the #8 leading the #7, but just before the two-hour mark, the #8 with Kobayashi on the wheel, wrestled his way into the lead by overtaking the #7 of Hartley.
In the LMP2 category, the pole-sitting #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca’s of Geido van der Garde, Job van Uitert and Frits van Eerd used the rain to its advantage to extend his lead by mid-way.
New WEC entrant, #42 Cool Racing Oreca Nicolas Lapierre, Antonin Borga and Alexandre Coigny were second but they assumed lead in the category due to an incident between LMGTE Pro’s #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina with LMP1’s #6 Team LNT car.
The LMGTE Pro category’s pole-sitting #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi lost time after early lead due to puncture as the #97 Aston Martin of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn.
However, the #51 Ferrari re-took the lead after battling against both Aston Martin and Porsche. Luck wasn’t on their side still as a penalty helped #91 Porsche of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni in the lead.
At the chequered flag, it was a Toyota 1-2 in LMP1 class to open the 2019/20 WEC season with the #7 ahead of #8, followed by #3 Rebellion finishing a lap down with #5 Team LNT in fourth, a further three laps as #1 Rebellion and #6 Team LNT rounded the six runners.
The LMP2 class win went to #42 Cool Racing Oreca – minus Coigny as he was injured – with #36 Signatech Alpine of Thomas Laurent, Pierre Ragues and Andre Negrao fighting through to second.
The #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca completed the podium as the Top 5 was rounded out by #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca in fourth and #38 Jota Team Oreca fifth – the latter without Anthony Davidson driving.
It was a Porsche 1-2 in LMGTE Pro as #91 crew won ahead of the #92 crew of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre, while #97 Aston Martin rounded out the podium position, with pole-sitters #51 Ferrari in fourth.
The LMGTE Am class saw #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen take the win after a good fight, with #98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn in second from #70 MR Racing Ferrari of Olivier Beretta, Motoaki Ishikawa and Kei Cozzolino.
The report was written by Venkatesh P Koushik and edited by Darshan Chokhani