6 Hours of Portimão: Race
Portimao victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing maintained its winning start to the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with victory in a dramatic 6 Hours of Portimão.
Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa, the reigning World Champions and 2023 Le Mans winners in the #8 GR010 HYBRID, delivered a faultless performance in Portugal to dominate the race and win by a lap from the #50 Ferrari and the #6 Porsche.
However, there were contrasting emotions for Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López in the #7 GR010 HYBRID. After winning the season-opener at Sebring four weeks ago, they took a ninth-place finish, after losing 11 minutes when race officials ordered a mandatory sensor to be replaced.
A fourth consecutive Hypercar win means TOYOTA GAZOO Racing extends its World Championship advantage to 18 points over Ferrari with five rounds remaining. Sébastien, Brendon and Ryo move to the top of the drivers’ standings and hold an 11-point lead over the #50 Ferrari crew. Mike, Kamui and José are a further two behind in third.
On the warmest day of the event, the on-track action was equally hot and a close race between the GR010 HYBRIDs began from the very start. At the first corner, Mike squeezed ahead of pole-sitting Sébastien, who dropped to third when the #51 Ferrari also got through. However, Sébastien got his revenge with a brave overtake on lap four to reclaim second place.