Toyota Wins At Le Mans With Fernando Alonso, Nakajima, and Buemi

Toyota Wins At Le Mans With Fernando Alonso, Nakajima, and Buemi

Toyota Wins At Le Mans With Fernando Alonso, Nakajima, and Buemi

The Spanish driver, together with teammates Kazuki Nakajima of Japan and Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland, completed 388 laps in their Toyota hybrid auto, two more than Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in the other Toyota hybrid. The team had raced at Le Mans since 2012 with a very competitive vehicle, yet had never managed to score an outright victory. And Alonso's chances of Le Mans success had appeared to fade with 14 hours to go when the #8 Toyota dropped two minutes behind when Buemi collected a stop-go just after midnight.

Victory means Alonso has now achieved the second part of the Triple Crown, adding victory at Le Mans to his two Monaco Grands Prix victories. Kobayashi qualified his auto in second place, exactly two minutes behind Nakajima, but it should be noted that Kobayashi still holds the all-time qualifying lap record from his 2017 run.

The result was effectively settled when Kobayashi had to serve two penalties for exceeding the fuel allowance, and for driving too many laps in a stint.

In the 16th hour of the race, Nakajima retook the lead and the number eight vehicle was in control for the duration.

There was no joy for another former F1 champion, though.

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They started from pole position on Saturday afternoon after Japanese former Williams driver Nakajima posted the fastest time in qualifying for their number eight vehicle. The rules are targeting a 3:20.00 lap around Circuit De La Sarthe, just six seconds slower than the current lap record, set by Kamui Kobayashi in 2017.

Fernando Alonso has always been regarded as one of the all-time great racing drivers and the best along with Lewis Hamilton in the current era of F1, but he has found success hard to come by in grands prix in recent years.

Expected to dominate the 86th edition of the race, as the only major manufacturer in the top LMP1 category after champions Porsche withdrew past year, Toyota's victory came at the 20th attempt.

Toyota's win is made all the more special after the team came within a lap of victory in 2016 only to have it taken away from them by reliability issues.

There has been speculation that a Le Mans win could hasten the 36-year-old's departure from Formula One, with McLaren still a long way off the podium.

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