24 Hours of Le Mans 2022: Fifth consecutive historic victory for Toyota at La Sarthe

Toyota Gazoo Racing has claimed its fifth consecutive and historical victory at Le Mans 24 Hours 2022 this Sunday in the circuit of La Sarthe. The GR010 Hybrid #8 of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa led the Japanese 1-2 in the third round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), followed by the #7 of José María ‘Pechito’ López, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.   

A whopping five laps behind the ‘Japanese empire’, only winner since 2018 on Gallic soil came the Glickenhaus 007 LMH #709 of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Franck Mailleux whose only setback throughout was a minor issue with a sensor. 

Neither the American Scuderia nor Alpine, its two greatest rivals in the hypercar category, posed a challenge to the Glickenhaus.  

In the end, Hartley (#8) crossed the finish line nearly two minutes ahead of López and its #7, after both Toyota’s alternated positions for a good portion of the race.  

JOTA dominates the LMP2 category and wins  

JOTA SPORT showed its strength in the LMP2 category right from the start. The Oreca #38 of Antonio Félix da Costa, Roberto González and Will Steven was in fact, leading with whole lap margin for some time.  

The only small fright that the JOTA crew had to deal with was a small accident by the WRT #31 of Robin Frijns early in the morning, which resulted in the safety car being called out.

Despite this, Steven saw the chequered flag more than two minutes ahead of the Prema 9 of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Lorenzo Colombo.  The #28 of Ed Jones, Jonathan Aberdein and Oliver Rasmussen added on to JOTA’s success with a third place. However, JOTA’s great performance was made brighter by the debacle of its crown adversaries (United Autosports and pole holders WRT).  

GTE Pro: Porsche wins after a thrilling duel with Ferrari  

Porsche claimed a historic victory at Le Mans in the GTE Pro category after a spectacular battle with Ferrari. Both manufacturers were left alone in the fight for the glory after Corvette Racing, which started from the front row, suffered a double retirement. 

One-third into the race and as a woeful omen of things to come, the #63 of Antonio García, Jordan Taylor and Nick Catsburg suffered a fault in the left rear suspension.

The Porsche #92 of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor then saw a chance to repeat its triumph of 2018 but a morning puncture destroyed the front end of the 911 RSR taking away their aspirations. 

It was then that the C8.R Corvette #64 of Nick Tandy, Tommy Milner and Alexander Sims took the lead with more than a minute to spare. Then drama struck again. With six hours to go and after a risky manoeuvre, François Perrodo’s AF Corse LMP2 hurled Sims into the barriers.  

With both the Corvette out of the game, the Porsche #91 of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra engaged in a beautiful duel, won by the first after the second suffered a puncture.

Third step of the podium went to the Ferrari #52 of Miguel Molina, Davide Rigon and Antonio Fuoco, who completed Maranello’s 1-2. 

Finally, the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage #33 driven by Ben Keating, Marco Sorensen and Henrique Chaves took the gold in the GTE Am class. Their great consistency awarded them the trophy with nearly 50 seconds to spare. 

Images: 24 Hours of Le Mans 2022 Official Twitter.

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