Toyota claims third consecutive Le Mans 24 Hour race
Toyota won the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance classic for the third consecutive year on Sunday.
Kazuki Nakajima, sharing the driving with Swiss Sebastien Buemi and New Zealander Brendon Hartley, took the chequered flag at 1230 GMT, one day and 387 laps after setting off from third on the grid at the La Sarthe circuit.
Hartley was stepping in for Fernando Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion who skipped the hat-trick bid to concentrate on his return to F1 next season.
The Rebellion of American Gustavo Menezes, Frenchman Norman Nato and Ayrton Senna’s nephew Bruno put up a stoic fight but were unable to match the Toyota’s power, the private entry coming in second, five laps adrift.
Toyota’s other car driven by Briton Mike Conway, Japanese Kamui Kobayashi and Argentine Jose-Maria Lopez, had set out from pole and was looking good for victory at the half way point.
But a half an hour pit stop during the night for a turbo change ruined their race.
Kobayashi made his frustration clear as he climbed out of his car in the pits. The Japanese driver has finished second at Le Mans in each of the last three years. In 2019 he again looked on target to win before a puncture with an hour to go gifted victory to his teammates.
The 88th edition of the iconic endurance race was rescheduled from June and held without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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