Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi edge closer to WEC title at Spa-Francorchamps
As TOYOTA GAZOO Racing secured the FIA WEC teams’ title
In a remarkable penultimate race of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi won the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps to edge closer to the FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship title.
Their victory was enough to secure the FIA LMP1 World Endurance Team Championship title for Toyota with one race of the season remaining at Le Mans next month.
The entire 34 car field battled the extreme weather conditions that saw sunshine, snow, rain, wind and hail and four safety car periods, full course yellows and, with eleven minutes of the race remaining, a red flag as blizzard conditions returned over the circuit.
The no3 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson finished in second place one lap behind the no8 Toyota with Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Nathanael Berthon finishing ahead of the no11 SMP Racing BR1-AER of Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and Stoffel Vandoorne after tight battle for the final podium places.
The no7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez finished in sixth place, four laps behind their teammates after making the early running after a technical issue with the hybrid system forced the car into the garage for several laps for repairs.
LMGTE: Porsche Secure the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance GTE Manufacturers Championship
Aston Martin took their second victory in a row, with the no97 Vantage of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn secured their debut WEC win just ahead of the no51 AF Corse Ferrari of reigning World Champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The no92 Porsche 911 of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre finished third, which was enough to secure the FIA World Endurance GT Manufacturers Championship for the German manufacturer.
Christensen and Estre had finished fourth on the road behind their teammates Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz in the no91 Porsche but a drive through penalty for a collision with the no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella was converted to a 17 second time penalty, which dropped the no91 911 to eighth in class.
The LMGTE Pro class saw each of the five manufacturers lead the race at one point and with changing strategies due to the changing weather conditions, the final result was difficult to predict right up to the end of the race.
Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen head to the final race at Le Mans with a healthy 36 point lead over their Porsche teammates with 39 points still to be won at the 24 Hour race next month.
LMP2: Debut Victory for Dragonspeed at Spa
The LMP2 category saw Pastor Maldonado, Roberto Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson win in the no31 Dragonspeed Oreca 07-Gibson, with Maldonado moving ahead of the chasing pack in the very slippery and challenging track conditions.
The American team finished 3.9 seconds ahead of the no26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01-Gibson of Jean-Eric Vergne, Job van Uitert and Roman Rusinov, with the LMP2 championship leaders Nico Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet in the no36 Signatech Alpine Matmut A470-Gibson claiming the final podium position.
The with just five points between the competitors, with Signatech Alpine Matmut ahead of Jackie Chan DC Racing, and 39 points still on offer, the LMP2 team and driver championships will be decided at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Dempsey Proton Racing Win Again in 2019
The LMGTE Am class was as fiercely fought as the other three classes and the no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche took a second consecutive class win as Christian Ried, Matt Campbell and Riccardo Pera fought their way to the front in final hours of the race.
They finished 5.3 seconds ahead of the no90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Charlie Eastwood, which had started the race from the class pole, with the no61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari taking third just 10.8 seconds further back.
After being forced off the track by the no91 Porsche of Richard Lietz, Giancarlo Fisichella brought the no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari home in a credible fourth place ahead of championship leaders Jorg Bergmeister, Edigio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey in the no56 Team Project 1 Porsche.
The eighth and final round of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 15/16.
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