The Toyota team of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez secured their first win of the season today at the 6 Hours of Fuji WEC race.
A thrilling WEC race in Fuji saw Toyota Gazoo Racing land a dominant 1-2 result, with car #7 coming out on top. The team of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez came out on top to land their first win of the season after coming a close second in both Spa and Le Mans earlier in the season.
This was the third 1-2 for Toyota this season, but the first ever WEC win for Lopez. First since 2016 Fuji for Kobayashi and Conway.
This also saw the championship lead of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima’s Toyota increase – they are now 13 points ahead of sister car, after winning all three of the opening races.
The LMP2 class saw a dominant 1-2 victor for the Jackie Chan DC Racing team. Weiron Tan, Nabil Jeffri and Jazeman Jaafar came out on top of this rivalry, taking their first victory over the sister car team of Ho-Pin Tung , Gabriel Aubury and Stephane Richelmi. The LMP2 podium was rounded out by the Signatech Alpine team in third place.
Despite starting at the back of the field, the GTE-Pro class was won by Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen in the Porsche, who are still enjoying their strong season opening. Meanwhile the GTE-Am class was also won by Porsche, captained by Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey. This podium was completed by Dempsey-Proton Racing and TF Sport.
After facing a seemingly disastrous qualifying penalty which pushed car #7 back through the LMP1 grid, Kobayashi only needed two laps to fight his way back up and be within two seconds of the leading car.
Within the first hour, Kobayashi had overtaken Kuzuki Nakajima in Toyota’s car #8 to claim the lead which the team would take to the chequered flag.
An early safety car ensued after the GTE-Am driver Motoaki Ishikawa suffered a tyre failure and left debris across the main straight. As a result, plenty of drivers took to the pits to risk a slick pair of tyres as the track began to slowly dry out.
This worked well for everyone except Gustavo Menezes, in car #3, who fell victim to the slippery track and crashed out.
Some teams, however, opted to stay out – This included ex-F1 World Champion Jenson Button, who briefly led the field as a result.
Kobayashi’s Toyato soon back regained this lead which he was able to hold despite pressure from Buemi, in the sister car. The gap then grew considerable with Conway now at the helm.
The Fuji podium was completed by Rebellion Racing, who crossed the line 4 laps down on the Toyota, driven by Andre Lotterer, Bruno Senna and Neel Jani.
After technical issues left Button in the pits for some time, he managed to drag the SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 up to 4th.
The grid will be back in action for the 6 Hours of Shanghai on the 18th of November and Overtake Motorsport will have all the action for you here!
Feature Image Credit: FIA World Endurance Car Championship