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LE MANS

FERNANDO ALONSO, BUEMI AND NAKAJIMA WIN THE 24 HEURES DU MANS

The #7 TS050 Hybrid looked to have an edge over the sister car – and Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez looked well set for a straightforward victory over the #8 car until drama struck the trio with just over an hour of the race remaining.

#8 – TOYOTA GAZOO RACING (JPN) CAR MODEL : TOYOTA TS050 – HYBRID TYRES : MICHELIN DRIVERS : Sébastien BUEMI (CHE) Kazuki NAKAJIMA (JPN) Fernando ALONSO (ESP)
© Arnaud CORNILLEAU (ACO)

After assuming the lead when Nakajima made his final routine stop, Lopez pitted for the final time with 20 minutes to go and took the flag only 16s in arrears.

Alonso will leave Toyota now a three-time world champion, adding to his two Formula One titles, while Sebastien Buemi and Nakajima join the Spaniard in becoming two-time Le Mans winners. Was it deserved?

No 7 had been the standout car all week, setting the fastest time in first qualifying despite a head-on collision for Mike Conway and topping the tables come Thursday night to start from pole. Despite swapping the lead through the night with the No 8 as the safety car process once again causes controversy in hindering some and helping others, there could be no doubting that in the hands of Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and particularly Mike Conway, they were the fastest car for 24 hours. And even when victory started to slip away from them, it was still the No 7 setting the pace, with only the unthinkable luck of two punctures in two laps costing them victory.

#7 – TOYOTA GAZOO RACING (JPN) CAR MODEL : TOYOTA TS050 – HYBRID TYRES : MICHELIN DRIVERS : Mike CONWAY (GBR) Kamui KOBAYASHI (JPN) Jose Maria LOPEZ (ARG)
© Michel JAMIN (ACO)

Somehow Toyota had managed to make themselves the story, despite being anonymous for the first 23 hours, which sadly took the attention away from a number of brilliant battles throughout the field.

The No 11 SMP Racing showed the power of patience as the Russian outfit watched its two main rivals in the two Rebellions sabotage their own races, with the No 1 taken out by reliability issues and No 3 crippled by two offs from Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes, the two young talented chargers who still have a bit to learn around the Circuit de la Sarthe.

#3 – REBELLION RACING (CHE) CAR MODEL : REBELLION R13 – GIBSON TYRES : MICHELIN DRIVERS : Thomas LAURENT (FRA) Nathanaël BERTHON (FRA) Gustavo MENEZES (USA)
© Alexis GOURE (ACO)

With their teammate, the No 17 SMP Racing BR1, crashing out during the night in spectacular circumstances as Egor Orudzhev lost control in the Karting Esses, the team of Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin and Stoffel Vandoorne took the non-hybrid LPM1 victory and the third step on the podium.

LE MANS

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING CLAIMS POLE POSITION FOR THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

The third and last qualifying session for the 87th édition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (15-16 June 2019) is over and the Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid claims pole position having clocked the fastest lap (3:15.497). For the final round, the Super Finale of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship season, Toyota takes the top two slots on the grid.

In the second qualifying session, Kamui Kobayashi set the time that clinched pole position for the 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Japanese driver completed a lap of the 13.626-km circuit in 03:15.497. He shares a car with Mike Conway and José María López.

Toyota Gazoo Racing locked out the first row of the grid as last year’s winning car, driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso clocked 03:15.908. The #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER fielded by Russian team SMP Racing rounds off the top three. The non-hybrid LMP1 and crew Stéphane Sarrazin, Egor Orudzhev and Sergey Sirotkin banked a best time of 03:16.159, six-tenths behind the #7 Toyota. As is logical, the eight LMP1 cars top the tables.

Three Oreca 07-Gibsons lead the way in LMP2. The Graff-SO24 #39 Oreca 07-Gibson scored the pole-winning time of 03:25.073. Tristan Gommendy, Vincent Capillaire and Jonathan Hirschi form the driver crew. In second place, the #28 TDS Racing (03:25.345) with the #31 DragonSpeed (03:25.667) in third. The first Ligier JS P217-Gibson is in seventh place, the #22 United Autosports entry.

The #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR topped the timesheets in LMGTE Pro with 03:48.00. Danish driver Marco Sørensen, set the time that put the British marque ahead of the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 Ford GT (03:48.112). The #63 Corvette C7.R is third on 03:48.830. The class has five different constructors in the top five places.

In LMGTE Am, the Dempsey-Proton Racing #88 Porsche 911 RSR beat the rest of the field thanks to Matteo Cairoli’s lap of 03:51.439. He shares the car with Satoshi Hoshino and Giorgio Roda.

There will be one less car on the grid on Saturday. The #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing has withdrawn from the race following an accident on the Mulsanne Straight during the practice session.

F1Weekly podcast # 792

THE HOST IS STILL FREAKING OUT ON THE PENALTY AND NASIR TRIES TO BRING REASON AND CALM TO THE F1WEEKLY STATE OF THE ART RECORDING STUDIO. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD ROSS BRAWN COMMENTS ON THIS ISSUE…

“I have a lot of respect for the work of the stewards and for their professionalism and I believe they would be the first to say that they would prefer not to see a race outcome decided via a penalty,” said Brawn, in his regular post-event debrief.

“At the same time, I understand how difficult it must be for fans to understand why the driver on the top step of the podium is not the one who crossed the finish line first. That’s why transparency is important when it comes to explaining the decisions of the stewards, especially in such a complex sport as Formula 1. “It is in football, where despite the arrival of VAR , there is still discussion as to whether a handball should be punished with a penalty or not.

“Therefore, it might be useful to work with the FIA on solutions that would allow the stewards to explain their decisions to the fans and to elaborate on how they reached them.

“Having said that, I would emphatically add is that there is nothing sinister about a decision like this. You might agree with it or not, but none of those who take on the role of steward each weekend has a hidden agenda and fans can be certain of that.”

Despite his views on what the sport should be better in the future, Brawn says his senior role within F1 means it would be wrong of him to offer his view on what should have been done with Vettel.

“I can understand how Vettel feels and I know Ferrari intends to appeal the decision,” he said. “I also know what a difficult job the stewards have, as they have to reach a their decision in a very short time, producing a verdict that can affect the outcome of the race.

“As such, I don’t want to give an opinion on the decision, because in my position it would be wrong to do so.”

Play Podcast: 06-11-19f1weekly792.mp3

F1Weekly Familia

THE WORLD CHAMPION HONEYMOONERS

F1W Familia members are all smiles. Dutch listeners, Louis and Didi Jansen enjoyed their honeymoon traveling in the United States. Their pit stops included Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, Chicago, St Louis (sorry Heineken), and the Brickyard for the Indy 500.
We are pleased to share words and photo by Louis.
“Monday morning in downtown Indianapolis me,Louis Jansen and my wife Didi are having breakfast and are discussing all the fun we had yesterday at the Speedway when a black Triumph motorcycle stops at the curb and a very familiar figure steps off.
“We recognize his face, but we are not sure, is it Damon Hill? Can’t be! But then we look at his helmet and it has white stripes (rowing paddles!!) on a very dark blue. This must be him! We ask to have us take a picture and I ask him if his wife gave him permission to ride a bike through the US.
“She is a great wife he said!”

FORMULA 1

LCH WINS WITHOUT WINNING IN CANADA! BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO.

Sebastian Vettel gives his verdict and, rather damningly, suggests these kind of decisions are hugely damaging to F1. “It is not making our sport popular, is it?” he says. “People want to see us race and that was, I think, racing. I don’t know. I hope the people come back. That is the main thing. They are the reason why we are able to put this show on and build these incredible cars. It is just a shame when we have all these little funny decisions. I think we really deserved to win today, that is our opinion and I think the people’s opinion as well. It is a bit weird now to be honest, I don’t know what else to say.” What a mess, really.

That rather bizarre win takes Hamilton 29 points clear at the top of the driver’s championship. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, admits the five-second penalty awarded to Vettel is a “controversial decision”. Wolff adds: “From a clear regulations point, they have just interpreted what is black and white. If you are a Ferrari fan or someone keen on hard racing, you might want to see more of a bumper-car mentality. The race stewards need to be supported. They have looked at the incident and that needs to be respected. We should not ignite it even more.”

INDYCAR

NEW GARDEN TAKES A BIG TEXAS VICTORY

Newgarden came seemingly from nowhere to win the latest electrifying NTT IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 2019 championship leader fended off Alexander Rossi in a thrilling duel over the final 10 laps to capture the DXC Technology 600. Newgarden, in the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Team Penske Chevrolet, won by 0.8164 of a second to collect his 13th career win, third this season and first on a superspeedway.

“Feels awesome to win here,” Newgarden said. “I knew we’d get it done here at some point. We’ve had fast cars (but) it never has materialized. Tonight, it happened.”

DXC TECHNOLOGY 600: Official race results

Starting seventh in the 22-car field, Newgarden didn’t lead until Lap 190 of the 248-lap event on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval. A lightning-quick final pit stop on Lap 198, accompanied by lightning-fast laps before and after the stop, put the 28-year-old Tennessean in position to retake the lead on the 202nd lap, and he never surrendered it.

“This win was down to the team,” Newgarden said. “I knew once we pitted and basically got back to where we were before the pit stop on the green-flag sequence, we had such a fuel advantage on everybody. If we could get to the lead, I could crank out super-quick laps and jump everybody. That’s what we did.

Rossi, driving the No. 27 GESS/Capstone Honda, ran second behind Newgarden for the final restart on Lap 236. Time and again in the closing laps, Rossi pulled alongside as the duo launched into Turn 1, but each time Newgarden kept the low line and held off the Andretti Autosport driver.

“I think we had a good car, could obviously get a good run on him off of (Turns) 3 and 4,” Rossi said. “Lane 2 (the outside line) was really never there for me. We could get halfway around the outside (but) would have to bail out.

“Ultimately, then it became about trying to beat him for the (start/finish) line. But we took out a lot of the tire life going in Lane 2 there, so we just didn’t have the rear tires there at the end to stay close to him. I didn’t see him up front all day. All of a sudden, he appears in P1, so obviously they’re doing a good job. He had a fast car once he got in front.”

Graham Rahal finished third, rookie Santino Ferrucci fourth and Ryan Hunter-Reay fifth. It marked the first time Americans swept the top five spots in an Indy car race since 2001 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, when Al Unser Jr., Mark Dismore, Sam Hornish Jr., Eddie Cheever and Robbie Buhl finished first through fifth.

Saturday’s race was the 31st for the NTT IndyCar Series at Texas Motor Speedway, which has become home to some of the most exciting finishes in history since the track opened in 1997. This year’s event was no exception.

The race ran caution-free for more than the first half, until Zach Veach brushed the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 2 on Lap 135. The No. 26 Gainbridge Honda did a 360-degree spin but Veach kept it off the wall and came to a stop in Turn 3 with only slight suspension damage and a flat tire.

The second caution occurred when James Hinchcliffe slid wide into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier on Lap 219. The final yellow waved when the cars of Scott Dixon and rookie Colton Herta touched while battling for third place in Turn 3 on Lap 229, sending both into the SAFER Barrier. All drivers were unhurt from the incidents.

The caution for the Dixon-Herta incident set up the shootout to the finish between Newgarden and Rossi.

“I knew he was going to be difficult to beat,” Newgarden said of Rossi. “He had a great car. He drove me clean, he drove me hard.

“I think we had enough power there from Chevy. Our car was handling well enough out front (that) we could get the job done, pretty much stay on the throttle as much as we needed to just to stay ahead of him.”

With the win, Newgarden extended his lead in the standings to 25 points over Rossi and 48 over Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, who finished sixth on Saturday.

Pole sitter Takuma Sato led the first 60 laps of the race until making his first pit stop in the No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda. But the car slid into the pit stall and made contact with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing front tire changer Chris Welch. Sato was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for hitting a crewman. Welch was evaluated and released from the track’s infield care center.