Toyota trumps Audi in WEC cliffhanger

Toyota holds on to beat Audi in a thriller at Fuji CAR#6 / TOYOTA GAZOO RACING / JPN / Toyota TS050 - Hybrid / Hybrid - WEC 6 Hours of Fuji - Fuji Speedway - Oyama - Japan

Toyota holds on to beat Audi in a thriller at Fuji

Toyota has craftily pulled off a remarkable home victory after rolling the dice to clinch Round 7 of the World Endurance Championship at Fuji.

Playing second fiddle to Audi for much of the 6 Hour journey, the #6 TS050 of Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway held on to win by 1.4s.

The Toyota Hybrid crew gambled on a short final pit stop for Kobayashi inside the final hour, only taking on fuel, potentially leaving the #6 machine a sitting duck for Audi.

However the #8 Audi, at the hands of Loic Duval, could not bridge the gap despite taking on new tyres in its final stop with the R18 e-tron he shared with Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi, desperately just short in a race it had dominated.

Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard were gunning for their fourth win on the bounce in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid but had to settle for third after putting up a gallant fight.

Porsche’s #2 machine driven by Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani was outpaced throughout, finishing fifth behind the second Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.

The result sees the #6 Toyota trio move to 117 points and close within 23 of the #2 Porsche in the driver’s standings with two races remaining.

Capitalising on pole, Jarvis eased clear from the start to hold a comfortable lead in the #8 Audi.

Jarvis unleashed a rousing double stint as the Brit completed an astonishing 88 passing moves to give Audi a much needed advantage in the first third of the race.

A stirring mid-race stint by starting driver Webber saw Porsche close on the leaders before he handed over to Bernhard.

The #1 machine moved to less than a handful of seconds behind the Audi of Duval and Sarrazin in the Toyota.

Sarrazin meanwhile engaged in a thrilling dice as he traded places briefly with Bernhard with just over two hours remaining before the latter settled into second position.

Duval clung to a 4.6s lead ahead of Bernhard with Sarrazin in close attendance ahead of the sister Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima in a tense fight between the LMP1 factory machines.

Audi was forced to fly solo with the #8 machine for the majority of the race after a Hybrid problem cruelled Benoit Treluyer’s race.

Treluyer completed just 17 laps in the #7 R18 e-tron quattro he shared with Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer before it returned to the pits.

After a lengthy spell in the garage, the Audi returned to the action, albeit running on purely combustion power, with just over four hours remaining.

However with the front drive shafts removed following the MGU failure, it was deemed by the FIA to not conform to homologation, leaving Audi with no choice but to retire it from the race after turning a total of just 36 laps.

A localised yellow flag was produced with just under four hours remaining for the #4 Bykolles CLM P1/01 – AER of Simon Trummer who stopped momentarily before managing to refire the privateer LMP1 soon afterwards.

LMP2 saw another close finish with Will Stevens, Alex Brundle and Roman Rusinov taking the G-Drive Oreca-Nissan to a 1.3s class win over Bruno Senna, Felipe Albuquerque and Ricardo Gonzalez in the RGR Sport by Morland Ligier.

Ford returned to its best form since Le Mans with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell beating the sister GT of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke.

The GTE Am class was taken by Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

WEC returns for the next round at Shanghai from November 3-5.

Result: 6 Hours of Fuji

Pos State Cat Team Driver Car T Laps Gap Last lap Best lap Av speed Pits
1 6 Run P1 Toyota Gazoo Racing KOBAYASHI Kamui Toyota TS050 – Hybrid M 244 1:26.694 1:25.320 192.5 6
2 8 Run P1 Audi Sport Team Joest DUVAL Loïc Audi R18 M 244 1.439 1:26.189 1:24.645 194.1 6
3 1 Run P1 Porsche Team WEBBER Mark Porsche 919 Hybrid M 244 17.339 1:26.504 1:25.311 192.6 6
4 5 Run P1 Toyota Gazoo Racing DAVIDSON Anthony Toyota TS050 – Hybrid M 244 53.779 1:27.626 1:25.377 192.4 6
5 2 Run P1 Porsche Team JANI Neel Porsche 919 Hybrid M 243 1 Lap 1:28.002 1:25.473 192.2 6
6 13 Run P1 Rebellion Racing TUSCHER Mathéo Rebellion R-One – AER D 229 15 Laps 1:36.605 1:29.901 182.7 7
7 26 Run P2 G-Drive Racing STEVENS Will Oreca 05 – Nissan D 223 21 Laps 1:35.888 1:33.011 176.6 7
8 43 Run P2 RGR Sport by Morand SENNA Bruno LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan D 223 1.398 1:35.678 1:32.968 176.7 7
9 36 Run P2 Signatech Alpine LAPIERRE Nicolas Alpine A460 – Nissan D 223 27.623 1:36.693 1:33.361 175.9 6
10 30 Run P2 Extreme Speed Motorsports GIOVINAZZI Antonio LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan D 223 51.316 1:35.483 1:33.245 176.2 7
11 31 Run P2 Extreme Speed Motorsports DERANI Luis Felipe LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan D 222 22 Laps 1:37.274 1:33.354 176.0 7
12 42 Run P2 Strakka Racing WILLIAMSON Lewis Gibson 015S – Nissan D 222 6.840 1:35.588 1:33.910 174.9 7
13 44 Run P2 Manor BRADLEY Richard Oreca 05 – Nissan D 222 26.397 1:36.072 1:33.450 175.8 8
14 27 Run P2 SMP Racing MINASSIAN Nicolas BR01 – Nissan D 222 1:06.658 1:36.748 1:34.159 174.5 6
15 35 Run P2 Baxi DC Racing Alpine TUNG Ho-Pin Alpine A460 – Nissan D 221 23 Laps 1:33.666 1:33.214 176.2 7
16 37 Run P2 SMP Racing PETROV Vitaly BR01 – Nissan D 220 24 Laps 1:38.072 1:34.002 174.7 7
17 67 Run Pro Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK PRIAULX Andy Ford GT M 212 32 Laps 1:42.042 1:38.575 166.6 5
18 66 Run Pro Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK MÜCKE Stefan Ford GT M 212 15.506 1:41.248 1:38.712 166.4 5
19 51 Run Pro AF Corse CALADO James Ferrari 488 GTE M 212 41.140 1:40.718 1:39.096 165.8 5
20 71 Run Pro AF Corse BIRD Sam Ferrari 488 GTE M 212 49.275 1:41.024 1:38.994 165.9 5
21 95 Run Pro Aston Martin Racing SØRENSEN Marco Aston Martin Vantage V8 D 211 33 Laps 1:41.130 1:39.169 165.6 5
22 97 Run Pro Aston Martin Racing STANAWAY Richie Aston Martin Vantage V8 D 211 1:02.414 1:40.997 1:39.463 165.2 5
23 77 Run Pro Dempsey – Proton Racing LIETZ Richard Porsche 911 RSR (2016) M 210 34 Laps 1:40.831 1:39.672 164.8 5
24 98 Run Am Aston Martin Racing LAMY Pedro Aston Martin Vantage V8 M 208 36 Laps 1:43.353 1:40.052 164.2 5
25 83 Run Am AF Corse AGUAS Rui Ferrari F458 Italia M 207 37 Laps 1:43.391 1:40.427 163.6 6
26 78 Run Am KCMG HENZLER Wolf Porsche 911 RSR M 206 38 Laps 1:44.341 1:40.910 162.8 6
27 86 Run Am Gulf Racing BARKER Benjamin Porsche 911 RSR M 205 39 Laps 1:42.492 1:40.722 163.1 5
28 88 Run Am Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing AL QUBAISI Khaled Porsche 911 RSR M 200 44 Laps 1:44.680 1:41.589 161.7 6
29 45 Run P2 Manor LYNN Alex Oreca 05 – Nissan D 190 54 Laps 1:35.987 1:32.948 176.7 9
30 50 Run Am Larbre Competition RAGUES Pierre Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 M 172 72 Laps 2:15.875 1:40.340 163.7 6
31 4 Pit P1 Bykolles Racing Team TRUMMER Simon CLM P1/01 – AER D 79 165 Laps 3:15.299 1:30.658 181.2 3
32 7 Pit P1 Audi Sport Team Joest FÄSSLER Marcel Audi R18 M 36 208 Laps 1:44.355 1:25.476 192.2 2
 Points standings

1

Romain Dumas

140

1

Marc Lieb

140

1

Neel Jani

140

2

Stephane Sarrazin

117

2

Kamui Kobayashi

117

2

Mike Conway

117

3

Lucas di Grassi

111.5

3

Oliver Jarvis

111.5

3

Loic Duval

111.5

4

Brendon Hartley

93.5

4

Mark Webber

93.5

4

Timo Bernhard

93.5

5

Marcel Fassler

78

5

Andre Lotterer

78

6

Dominik Kraihamer

60

6

Matheo Tuscher

60

6

Alexandre Imperatori

60

7

Nicolas Lapierre

46

7

Stephane Richelmi

46

7

Gustavo Menezes

46

8

Benoit Treluyer

44

9

Anthony Davidson

33

9

Kazuki Nakajima

33

9

Sebastien Buemi

33

10

Roman Rusinov

30

11

Filipe Albuquerque

28

11

Bruno Senna

28

11

Ricardo Gonzalez

28

12

Nicolas Prost

25.5

12

Nick Heidfeld

25.5

13

Nelson Piquet Jr.

25

14

Rene Rast

24

15

Will Stevens

22.5

16

Luis Derani

19

16

Ryan Dalziel

19

16

Chris Cumming

19

17

Vitaly Petrov

14.5

17

Kirill Ladygin

14.5

17

Victor Shaytar

14.5

18

Jonny Kane

13

19

Nick Leventis

12.5

20

Danny Watts

10

21

Oliver Webb

9.5

21

Simon Trummer

9.5

22

James Rossiter

8.5

23

Alex Brundle

7.5

24

Nathanael Berthon

6.5

25

Nicolas Minassian

6.5

25

Maurizio Mediani

6.5

26

Mikhail Aleshin

4.5

27

Richard Bradley

3.5

27

Matt Rao

3.5

27

Roberto Merhi

3.5

28

Ed Brown

3.5

28

Scott Sharp

3.5

28

Johannes van Overbeek

3.5

29

Lewis Williamson

3

30

David Cheng

3

30

Ho-Pin Tung

3

31

Nelson Panciatici

2.5

32

Giedo van der Garde

1.5

33

Tor Graves

1.5

34

Sean Gelael

1

34

Antonio Giovinazzi

1

35

James Jakes

0.5

35

Jake Dennis

0.5

35

Simon Dolan

0.5

36

Mathias Beche

0.5

36

Matt Howson

0.5

36

Antonio Pizzonia

0.5

37

Pierre Kaffer

0.5

38

Paul-Loup Chatin

0.5

38

Shinji Nakano

0.5

38

Alex Lynn

0.5

39

Picho Toledano

0

39

Devi Markozov

0

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