Toyota signs a fifth historic success thanks to the n°8 of Buemi, Hartley and Hirakawa

Toyota signs a fifth historic success thanks to the n°8 of Buemi, Hartley and Hirakawa

There are the Toyotas and the others. Sunday June 12, the Japanese team proved it again by flying over the 24 Hours of Le Mans and signing a fifth victory in the event, which makes it the equal of the legendary Porsche and Audi. This success, Toyota built it with authority, quickly dismissing any form of competition and the only suspense resided in the fact of knowing which of the number 7 or the 8 would finally win.

From the start until daybreak, the two Toyotas, already dominating in the last four editions on the Sarthe circuit, tied the game at the head of the race, regularly stealing first place thanks to a misbehavior of one or a better negotiated pit stop of the other. The last word ultimately went to the Buemi-Hartley-Hirakawa crew, the first named taking advantage to sign a fourth personal victory in the event. But the Conway-Kobayashi-Lopez trio has long led the debate.

But around 7:45 this Sunday, José Maria Lopez, driving the No. 7, slowed down and stopped. He then left and drove at a good pace to his pit where the mechanics remained motionless for long seconds in front of the car, visibly relaunched electronically from a distance.

In the lead with a twenty-second lead at the time of the incident, the n°7, which had won last year after years of misfortune, left with a lap behind the n°8 , already victorious in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions.

The two Toyotas nevertheless kept a substantial lead since the third Hypercar, the Glickenhaus n°709 of the Briscoe-Westbrook-Mailleux team, was almost five laps behind the n°8. A performance nevertheless to underline and which contrasts with that of the Alpine which one however presented like the great rival of Toyota.

She who had managed to slip into third place behind the Toyotas on the grid, saw the two Glickenhaus overtake her immediately on both sides, from the start. From then on, it was only a long way of the cross for the French firm which suffered an incredible series of mechanical incidents and which finished beyond the Top 20.

For the big fight this weekend, you had to have your eyes on the GTE-Pro category, as always. And fate did not smile on the Corvette team, whose two cars were aiming for victory in the category. Number 63, long in the lead on Saturday, threw in the towel around 9:30 a.m., weighed down by mechanical problems. Less than twenty minutes later, number 64, in turn in the lead, was catapulted into the rail by another car. With the yellow cars out, the n°91 Porsche took advantage of a puncture of the n°51 AF Corse Ferrari to take the lead in the category.

As for the celebrities involved, the number 1 Oreca of eight-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier, who was making his debut at Le Mans, finished 11th in his LMP2 class.

Actor Michael Fassbender, meanwhile, found himself twice in the gravel around midnight and his Porsche number 93 (GTE-Am) finished in 16th position in its class.

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