Le Mans, France,

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing: Le Mans 24 hours update 3

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing remained in a close battle for supremacy in the Le Mans 24 Hours as midnight arrived at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The #6 TS050 HYBRID of Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi held the lead into the 10th hour, with Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in the #5 also in a podium position.

As night fell, the battle for the lead saw Stéphane continue where Kamui left off and he held the #2 Porsche at bay. By now the two cars’ pit stop schedules were several laps apart. Stéphane successfully maintained a sufficient gap in order to retain the lead through his first fuel stops.

Behind that battle, Kazuki was in fourth position, showing determination as he pushed to close the gap on the #1 Porsche in third place. Just after the eight-hour mark, Kazuki did indeed put the #5 into third when its rival pitted for repairs.

After almost nine hours, the #5 needed small repairs of its own, when the team took advantage of a safety car to change the front end due to minor bodywork damage. Sébastien took over with the car still in third.

Stéphane made his scheduled stop just as the safety car was released. When Mike took over, the #2 swept past into a brief lead before making its own pit stop early in hour 10, putting the TS050 HYBRIDs into first and second.

TS050 HYBRID #5 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)

Grid: 4th

Kazuki Nakajima: “It was quite difficult in traffic and I never really had a clear lap but I think I had a reasonable run. We need to keep going like this and make sure we stay out of trouble. The balance felt okay. It was harder as the track temperatures dropped but the car is strong. Let’s see what we can do from here.”

TS050 HYBRID #6 (Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi)

Grid: 3rd

Stéphane Sarrazin: “It was a good triple stint for me. We did a good job, with no problems. The car is really fast and I managed to extend the gap a little, so that was nice. Everything is going well and the guys in the pits and on the pit wall are doing a good job. We need to keep going like this.”