TOYOTA GAZOO Racing: Le Mans 24 hours update 4
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing had two cars in a three-way fight for victory in the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours when the race entered its final eight hours.
The TS050 HYBRID’s better fuel efficiency allows it to complete 14 laps per stint, while its rivals are pitting one lap earlier. That reduced the number of stops required and contributed to a fascinating battle for the win.
At the end of the 16th hour, the #6 of Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi led the race from the second-placed #5 of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
All three contenders had kept up a relentless pace through the night, with Mike leading in the #6 and Sébastien making up ground for the #5 in third place.
With over 50 cars still on track, traffic remained a significant factor and minor incidents affected several competitors, including the #6 which lost 30 seconds during the night due to a pit-lane repair of damaged bodywork.
The battle for top spot was too close to call entering the 17th hour; the two TS050 HYBRIDs were still locked together with the #2 Porsche. All three leading cars were lapping at a similar speed as the sun rose over the Circuit de la Sarthe, with Stéphane and Kazuki at the wheel of the TOYOTAs.
TS050 HYBRID #5 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)
Anthony Davidson: “We have been plugging away and putting in consistent lap times through the night, without taking unnecessary risks. It’s a long race and we’ve got to stay in the fight all the way to the end. Everyone has done a good job so far; we’ll keep pushing.”
TS050 HYBRID #6 (Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi)
Kamui Kobayashi: “My stint in the night was pretty difficult. There’s a lot of traffic out there and I had a small contact with a GT car. It was a pity to lose a bit of time there, but the car balance felt good. There is still a long way to go and we have to do our best for the rest of the race.”