Alonso takes Spa WEC win on debut

Sebastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima pic: FIA WEC website

Fernando Alonso has emerged victorious on his World Endurance Championship debut with Toyota Gazoo Racing in the 2018/19 season-opening 6 Hours of Spa.

The #8 TS050 Hybrid which Alonso shared with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima had a mostly untroubled run to the flag, heading home the sister #7 Toyota of Mike Conway Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez for a 1-2 finish outright.

Conway, who was behind the wheel of the #7 at the time, chased Alonso down in the final stint after a Safety Car neutralised the latter’s advantage following a heavy accident for Matevos Isaakyan at Eau Rouge.

Upon restart, Conway looked the quicker of the Toyotas but ultimately appeared to settle for second and cross the line 1.4s behind Alonso, who earned his first win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.

Rebellion Racing took the chequered flag third and fourth through Cars #1 and #3 respectively.

However, #1 was disqualified post-race for an overly worn skid block, promoting the #3 of Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Mathias Beche to the final spot on the podium.

G-Drive Racing claimed LMP2 honours in the form of the #26 entry of Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola.

In GTE-Pro, the #66 Ford GT of Olivier Pla, Stefan Muecke and Billy Johnson took victory after a late pass on the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, before the #92 Porsche in the hands of Michael Christensen muscled its way to second in the closing stages.

The class winning #66 Ford GT pic: FIA WEC website

Davide Rigon in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari also capitalised on a struggling Richard Lietz in the #91 Porsche to claim the final spot on the GTE-Pro podium, with Lietz holding onto fourth.

The first of the BMW M8 GTEs finished fifth in class ahead of the lead Aston Martin Vantage in sixth.

Ford’s victory came in contrast to an abrupt end for the sister car which was taken out of contention early in the second hour of the race following a heavy crash for Harry Tincknell at Eau Rouge.

In GTE-Am, Pedro Lamy managed to hold onto the class victory for Aston Martin Racing with the TF Sport Aston Martin and Clearwater Racing Ferrari rounding out the class podium.

Australian Matt Campbell took home fourth in class aboard the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche he shares with Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer.

Fellow Australian Alex Davison and co-drivers Ben Barker and Michael Wainwright finished seventh in class after recovering from an early tangle with the barriers.

Round 2 of the FIA WEC is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with practice beginning on June 13 and the race itself from June 16-17.

Highlights: 2018 6 Hours of Spa

Race results: 6 Hours of Spa

Pos Num Car Team Drivers Split to lead Class  
1 8 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid Toyota Gazoo Racing S.Buemi/K.Nakajima/F.Alonso 163 laps LMP1 H
2 7 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid Toyota Gazoo Racing M.Conway/K.Kobayashi/J.Lopez +1.444 LMP1 H
3 3 Rebellion R13 – Gibson Rebellion Racing M.Beche/T.Laurent/G.Menezes +2 Laps LMP1
4 4 ENSO CLM P1/01 – Nismo Bykolles Racing Team O.Webb/D.Kraihamer/T.Dillmann +5 Laps LMP1
5 11 BR Engineering BR1 – AER SMP Racing M.Aleshin/V.Petrov +5 Laps LMP1
6 26 Oreca 07 – Gibson G-Drive Racing R.Rusinov/J.Vergne/A.Pizzitola +7 Laps LMP2
7 38 Oreca 07 – Gibson Jackie Chan DC Racing H.Tung/G.Aubry/S.Richelmi +7 Laps LMP2
8 36 Alpine A470 – Gibson Signatech Alpine Matmut N.Lapierre/A.Negrão/P.Thiriet +7 Laps LMP2
9 37 Oreca 07 – Gibson Jackie Chan DC Racing J.Jaafar/W.Tan/N.Jeffri +8 Laps LMP2
10 28 Oreca 07 – Gibson TDS Racing F.Perrodo/M.Vaxiviere/L.Duval +8 Laps LMP2
11 31 Oreca 07 – Gibson DragonSpeed R.Gonzalez/P.Maldonado/N.Berthon +8 Laps LMP2
12 50 Ligier JSP217 – Gibson Larbre Competition E.Creed/R.Ricci/J.Canal +11 Laps LMP2
13 66 Ford GT Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK S.Mücke/O.Pla/B.Johnson +15 Laps LMGTE Pro
14 92 Porsche 911 RSR Porsche GT Team M.Christensen/K.Estre +15 Laps LMGTE Pro
15 71 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO AF Corse D.Rigon/S.Bird +16 Laps LMGTE Pro
16 91 Porsche 911 RSR Porsche GT Team R.Lietz/G.Bruni +16 Laps LMGTE Pro
17 82 BMW M8 GTE BMW Team MTEK T.Blomqvist/A.Da Costa +17 Laps LMGTE Pro
18 97 Aston Martin Vantage AMR Aston Martin Racing A.Lynn/M.Martin/J.Adam +17 Laps LMGTE Pro
19 95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR Aston Martin Racing M.Sørensen/N.Thiim/D.Turner +17 Laps LMGTE Pro
20 81 BMW M8 GTE BMW Team MTEK M.Tomczyk/N.Catsburg +18 Laps LMGTE Pro
21 98 Aston Martin Vantage Aston Martin Racing P.Dalla Lana/P.Lamy/M.Lauda +19 Laps LMGTE Am
22 90 Aston Martin Vantage TF Sport S.Yoluc/E.Alers-Hankey/C.Eastwood +19 Laps LMGTE Am
23 61 Ferrari F488 GTE Clearwater Racing W.Mok/K.Sawa/M.Griffin +20 Laps LMGTE Am
24 77 Porsche 911 RSR Dempsey – Proton Racing C.Ried/J.Andlauer/M.Campbell +21 Laps LMGTE Am
25 70 Ferrari F488 GTE MR Racing M.Ishikawa/O.Beretta/E.Cheever +21 Laps LMGTE Am
26 88 Porsche 911 RSR Dempsey – Proton Racing K.Al Qubaisi/G.Roda/M.Cairoli +22 Laps LMGTE Am
27 51 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO AF Corse A.Pier Guidi/J.Calado +24 Laps LMGTE Pro
28 29 Dallara P217 Gibson Racing Team Nederland F.Van Eerd/G.Van Der Garde/J.Lammers +24 Laps LMP2
29 86 Porsche 911 RSR Gulf Racing UK M.Wainwright/B.Barker/A.Davison +26 Laps LMGTE Am
30 54 Ferrari F488 GTE Spirit of Race T.Flohr/F.Castellacci/G.Fisichella +27 Laps LMGTE Am
31 56 Porsche 911 RSR Team Project 1 J.Bergmeister/P.Lindsey/E.Perfetti +32 Laps LMGTE Am
DNF 17 BR Engineering BR1 – AER SMP Racing S.Sarrazin/E.Orudzhev/M.Isaakyan LMP1
DNF 67 Ford GT Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK A.Priaulx/H.Tincknell/T.Kanaan LMGTE Pro
DSQ 1 Rebellion R13 – Gibson Rebellion Racing N.Jani/A.Lotterer/B.Senna LMP1

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