WEC, Fuji: Toyota and Aston Martin Triumph in Japan

"It’s always important for us to win here"

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By Olivier Ferret

6 October 2019 - 12:11
WEC, Fuji: Toyota and Aston Martin (...)

With typically changeable weather conditions at Fuji International Speedway, the 6 Hours of Fuji was full of action and drama with Toyota and Aston Martin coming out on top at the end of the race.

The no8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050-Hybrid led from pole position and, despite a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane, Sebastien Buemi took the chequered flag 33 seconds ahead of the no7 Toyota, with the no1 Rebellion Racing R13 completing the overall podium.

The LMGTE Pro category saw victory for Aston Martin Racing, with the no95 Vantage of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, the Danes keeping the following pack at bay before Thiim brought the car home to claim the first win of the 2019/20 season for the British manufacturer one lap ahead of the no92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of reigning world champions Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.

The no97 Aston Martine Racing Vantage of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin took the third and final podium spot 24 seconds behind the Porsche.

The LMP2 victory went to the all Dutch Racing Team Nederlands team of Nyck De Vries, Giedo Van Der Garde and Frits Van Eerd. 2019 FIA Formula 2 Champion De Vries brought the car across the line 25 seconds ahead of the no38 JOTA Oreca of 2014 World Endurance Drivers Champion Anthony Davidson, setting a new LMP2 lap record by over 0.4 seconds along the way.

The no37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca finished third one lap behind the winning car after leading for the middle portion of the race.

It was a double victory for Aston Martin when the no90 TF Sport Vantage took a dominant victory in the LMGTE Am class. Jonny Adam took the chequered flag over a lap ahead of the no83 AF Corse Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen to stand on the top step of the podium with teammates Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood. The no57 Team Project 1 Porsche was third after starting at the back of the grid.

Round 3 of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship will be the 4 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday 10 November.

Quotes:

Sebastien Buemi – No8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid - 1st LMP1

“It’s always important for us to win here, it’s a big race for us, the second biggest race after Le Mans, so we always want to do well. We have some very important guests visiting us this weekend, so we want to do well. It’s never easy, it’s a long race, so I’m happy we managed to have a 1-2 again. I’m obviously happy that car eight won and we are back on similar points with car seven for Shanghai; it’s going to be an interesting one.”

Kazuki Nakajima – No8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid - 1st LMP1

“It was definitely an important win because it’s the last race for the TS050 in Japan. We have experienced many good and bad memories with this car, so it’s like a friend of ours. The race was quite tough with a lot of changing weather, as well as the penalty, so we didn’t manage to pull the gap as much as we wanted in the end. But we had good pace and controlled the traffic management, so I am quite happy that we all did a good job in the end.”

Brendon Hartley – No8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid - 1st LMP1

“Every time I jump in the car in the race, the two so far, it has been tricky conditions but this time we got it right. We changed onto inters at the perfect moment and handed over to Kazuki. Before I came here Sebastien told me not to worry because Kazuki was born at Turn One and had his 30th birthday at Turn Six and he was right, Kazuki was on it today and did a mega job. We had the pitlane speeding infringement and a couple of bad pitstops due to going nose in. We definitely had the advantage with the success handicap today and I am very pleased to take my first victory with Toyota.”

Marco Sørensen - No.95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR – 1st LMGTE Pro

“I had a fun first hour, it’s what we all love - to race and have some close racing. The first hour was intense, with a lot of good fights going on both behind and in front of me and some good overtaking. I really enjoyed that. The first hour just passes by really easily. We changed to Nicki and he did a great stint. I was going a really long stint, and we stayed out and kept it on slicks which was obviously a bit tricky at times, even when the times dropped the most we were still able to manage it. Nicki finished it off and it’s a good day. I’m delighted for the whole team, we all needed this win.”

Nicki Thiim - No.95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR – 1st LMGTE Pro

“It’s always a pleasure to drive in GTE Pro – it’s some of the best racing on the planet right now. It’s really enjoyable. It means we simply have to split the strategies to cover each other off as it’s so close, and it just fell the #95’s way and not the #97. As Marco said, the win is great and well needed. Running in the dry has been our struggle but the boys have keep the spirits high and I’m really pleased for the team and of course for the Dane Train.”

Nyck De Vries – No.29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07-Gibson - 1st LMP2

“I have to admit that before the race we would’ve been OK with a podium. We started P7 but Giedo did a mega first stint; he took the lead in two laps and pulled away by 25 seconds. The whole team, Frits and everyone involved did a super job. The race just came towards us, the car was amazing and we were super quick. I was just trying to do the best job that I could. The conditions were very tricky at some stage and it was changing lap after lap, which meant I was trying to assess the grip all the time. In the end we pulled out a victory.”

Frits Van Eerd – No.29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07-Gibson - 1st LMP2

“I am very delighted to be here and to have my first win in an LMP2 car. This is my second season in the WEC. Last year we were really struggling with everything we had so we had an option to go to another chassis and another team and this has paid off well. Now with the second race and our second podium, and the win. I am a bronze driver and bronze drivers don’t usually go for the victory, just be happy to be on the podium once in a while, but my two teammates did a fantastic job. I am a happy man.”

Giedo Van Der Garde – No.29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07-Gibson - 1st LMP2

“We started a bit behind, it’s easier in P1 than in P7, but none the less in Turn One we caught three or four cars and by lap two we were first and we pulled away quite well. The car was amazing to drive, the team did a very good job and I am very happy for Frits. We have been working together for two years, it wasn’t easy last year, so this is a great result for us all. I am looking forward to tonight and have a beer because I think we deserve it.”

Jonny Adam - No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR – 1st LMGTE Am

“The race was tricky with changeable conditions for all three of us. For me it was about trying to maintain the gap, these two had built up a lead of about 50 seconds at one point so it was a case of just trying to keep that. I’m really happy for the team. They’ve got so close on four occasions, finishing 2nd and they’ve put a lot of effort in so far this year, especially with the new Vantage in the GTE Am class. Hopefully the championship will swing our way now with this advantage.”

Salih Yoluc - No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR – 1st LMGTE Am

“The start was eventful, before the Safety Car with all the stuff going on behind. After the restart I got a good getaway and pulled a gap and managed it until I handed over the car to the boys. Then it was over to them and they managed the gap beautifully. We are really delighted.”

Charlie Eastwood - No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR – 1st LMGTE Am

“Fuji Speedway has been great. We were fast at Silverstone but unfortunately didn’t get the result, and when we came here it sort of answered everything, all of last year, the build-up, all the 2nd places. It’s a long time coming for all of us and TF Sport. It was a perfect race from start to finish and it’s great to get the result. Hopefully we can carry that on throughout the season.”

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