The #8 Toyota crew of Sebastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima secured yet another victory in the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Silverstone on Sunday.
Pole-sitter #7 Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway started off well to lead the race from the #8 car while the non-hybrids was led by the #1 Rebellion Racing Gibson’s Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani.
The crew had to taking avoiding action when the #3 Rebellion Racing of Mathias Beche, Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent made contact with #17 SMP Racing BR Engineering of Stephane Sarrazin, Egor Orudhzev and Matevos Isaakyan – both managed to continue.
The sister #11 SMP Racing car of Mikhail Aleshin, Jenson Button and Vitaly Petrov couldn’t do much though as it was forced to retire just 20 minutes before the one hour mark with an apparent engine trouble as smoke blew from the back of the car.
The battle for win ebbed and flowed between the two Toyotas as the #8 with Alonso at the wheel finally managed to clear the #7 at the third hour mark, but the latter with Lopez retook the position by the four hour mark.
Both the cars then needed longer stop with under an hour remaining with the #8 having a nose change and the #7’s rear bodywork was repaired. Still though Kobayashi was in the #7 was in front of Buemi in the #8.
The Swiss driver then ate up the six seconds advantage to pass the Japanese driver with under 50 minutes remaining and built a 19 seconds lead to win their third successive race of the 2018/19 season and head the drivers’ standings handsomely.
Behind, the #1 Rebellion looked good for the final podium position until it required a late stop to change some bodywork allowed the #3 Rebellion to pass through and finish third – four laps down on Toyota as predicted by Button.
The #1 Rebellion had to make strategic changes after losing Bruno Senna early on. The lone #17 SMP car was fifth ahead of the #10 DragonSpeed BR Engineering of Ben Hanley, Renger van der Zande and Henrik Hedman.
The American outfit was 32 laps down on Toyota as the last running car in the LMP1 category after the #4 ByKolles Nismo of Rene Binder and Oliver Webb spun out of the race with Binder driving in the second hour itself.
The LMP2 class was headed by the two Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas like in qualifying, but it was the #38 crew of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi winning ahead of the #37’s Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Nabil Jeffri.
The all-Malaysian crew lost time due to puncture but caught up well to finish 1.9s behind the winning car. The two cars were two laps up on third placed #36 Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao.
The team got third after initially losing out to #28 TDS Racing Oreca of Loic Duval, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Francois Perrodo but a puncture and a mechanical issue meant they dropped down the class order to finish seventh.
A return to racing in WEC for Anthony Davidson went well in the #31 DragonSpeed Oreca which he shared with Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez. They ended up fourth from the #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara with #50 Larbre Competition Ligier was sixth.
GTE-Pro and Am
The LMGTE-Pro class saw a new winner this season as the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi made the most of the opportunity presented to outplay certain predicted winners Ford.
The Ferrari duo were consistent in their runs and were helped by circumstances to take the Italian’s manufacturer first win this season ahead of #91 Porsche GT Team’s Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz, who equally had a good outing.
The first of Ford, the #67 crew of Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx were eventual third after an up and down race with #92 Porsche GT Team right behind as the #97 Aston Martin Racing completed the Top 5.
The LMGTE-Am class was won by #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Matt Campbell, Christian Reid and Julien Andlauer from #90 TF Sport Aston Martin of Jonathan Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc and #56 Team Project 1 Porsche of Egidio Perfetti, Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Lindsey.