OPINION – Toyota’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Roglic making an impression before the Tour, disastrous Ferrari in Azerbaijan… Our Tops and Flops of the sports weekend.
24 Hours of Le Mans: Toyota’s fifth straight win
An almost perfect race this weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the Japanese manufacturer who simply created a cold sweat with an alert with the GR010 Hybride n°7 on Sunday morning when a temporary breakdown immobilized the car at the exit of the Indanapolis bend. The Toyotas crushed the race from start to finish to claim another double and a fifth victory in a row in La Sarthe. Toyota Gazoo Racing is now ahead of Ford and Alfa Romeo (4 wins). Next objective: to get Bentley (6 successes).
The ten biggest accidents in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Perpignan breaks the curse
Since the establishment of the dam between 13e of Top 14 and the finalist of Pro D2, the club of the lower level had always prevailed. We had to wait for the fourth edition of this ”access match” to see the big one get out of it. The credit goes to Perpignan which, after a stubborn first half, unrolled in the second act to win with authority 41 to 16. By the way, for his farewell to the Catalan jersey, the future Toulousain Melvyn Jaminet showed the path. The rear of the XV of France scored 26 points (1 try, 8/9 on foot). For a successful farewell.
Mbappé, the Mozart of the Blues
“ Kylian is Kylian, if I could get him to play from the first minute… “The statement comes from Didier Deschamps, more than ever under the spell of his striker, saving scorer Friday night in Austria (1-1). As soon as he entered the game, the Parisian changed the face of his team, before scoring and being very close to a double. This player is extraordinary, it’s no longer a secret for anyone and when he plays, the face of the France team changes instantly. His presence on Monday evening at the kick-off of the last match in June against Croatia (8:45 p.m., Stade de France) is a good reason to go to Saint-Denis or to sit in front of his television.
Winner of the Dauphiné, Roglic makes an impression with a view to the Tour de France
Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo) won the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday at the Plateau de Solaison, less than three weeks before the start of the Tour de France, ahead of his Danish teammate Jonas Vingegaard. In 74 editions, Roglic is the second Slovenian rider to appear on the Dauphiné prize list, twelve years after Janez Brajkovic. Aged 32, he took his second victory in a WorldTour stage race this year in the absence of Tadej Pogacar, his compatriot and main rival for the Tour de France. In March, the Slovenian won in Paris-Nice, a race he had lost on the last day in 2021. The Dauphiné had also refused him in August 2020 when he had given up on the morning of the last stage, following a crash while wearing the leader’s yellow jersey. Long live the sequel.
Paris SG will have reigned over French handball
Saturday evening, at Bercy, Paris SG completed its superb domestic season by winning the final of the Coupe de France at the expense of Nantes (36-31). His sixth trophy in the competition. And a superb icing on the cake after having conquered the title of champion of France at the end of a perfect exercise, with 30 victories in as many matches played. The Nantes residents only lasted 10 minutes during this final, during which their fine defense and the efficiency of Thibaut Briet, the game’s top scorer (8 goals), allowed them to put on a good show. But Paris, led in front by its MVP of the season Luc Steins and its Polish giant Kamil Syprzak (6 goals), and protected behind by Vincent Gérard, quickly passed the second, going so far as to widen the gap to +6 at the 25th minute. The Parisian goalkeeper, who will evolve next season at Saint-Raphaël, was able to rejoice in this successful farewell: “I end my story with Paris in the most beautiful way by leaving PSG at the top of the bill.” To see what will happen with his departure, and those of Nedim Remili and Mikkel Hansen in particular.
Red Bull hit hard
Third double of the season, fifth victory of the year for Max Verstappen, Sunday was very sweet for Red Bull. The Austrian brand struck a blow in Baku, taking advantage of Ferrari’s reliability problems (see below). Max Verstappen therefore won the race, his 25th career success, and Sergio Perez offered a very easy double to his team. The consequences for the ranking are colossal. The Dutchman, with 150 points, consolidates his leadership but now it is his Mexican teammate who is second in the drivers’ standings with 129 points. Same thing with manufacturers. Red Bull garners 44 points in Baku and widens the gap with now 279 pts on the clock, 80 more than Ferrari (199).
Ferrari, a catastrophic Sunday
Let’s start with the Carlos Sainz case. Fourth, the Spanish driver was forced to retire on the ninth lap following a brake problem on Sunday during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The third withdrawal in eight races for the Iberian. The blow was already hard to swallow for the Scuderia but what about the engine failure of Charles Leclerc? Then in the lead on the twentieth lap, the engine of the Monegasque exploded in the big straight line of Baku, as in Spain. Reliability is clearly a question at Ferrari. Because after Sainz and Leclerc, the engines of Magnussen and Zhou also pushed the two drivers to retire and Haas and Alfa Romeo are powered by… Ferrari. Beyond the points lost for the Scuderia, it also creates a parts problem as every broken engine has to be changed and drivers are limited to three engines for the season otherwise they are penalised. And that can quickly get expensive. Especially on an accounting level. Scuderia Ferrari is now dropped in the constructors’ championship 80 points behind Red Bull and Charles Leclerc is back to third place in the drivers’ ranks, 34 behind Max Verstappen. A black Sunday for the Reds.
Racing still can’t do it
Since its title of champion of France in 2016, Racing 92 has always been present in the final phase. But never managed to climb to the Stade de France for the final. Another failure this season, the Parisians sank in the barrage, atomized by the Bordelais 36 to 26. Fickou and his partners deceived a half (8-10) before exploding after the break. Four tries conceded for a rout 36 to 16. The leaders have not responded for a long time. And, inevitably, the Travers method will be questioned. Changes seem imperative so as not to relive, season after season, the same disappointment.
A tough hazing for actor Michael Fassbender
Learning to say the least complicated for Michael Fassbender. Headliner of this 90th edition, of which he was one of the curiosities, the successful actor was hit hard by the difficulty of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Without rhythm at the wheel of his Porsche 911 (record lap in 4:03.632, or 10 seconds more than his teammate Zach Robinchon, another rookie in Sarthe), Fassbender especially shone by his setbacks on the track at nightfall Saturday. From a first collision with the Ferrari N.61 causing a violent shock before a spin a few minutes after returning to the track. Enough to start a little more confidence already at the lowest. But the main thing is except for the interpreter of Magneto in the X-Men, if the 51st place (out of 53, not counting the abandonments) is not very good, he has succeeded in a bet: that of going to the end.