Sunday, Oct 6 09:42pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Brendon Hartley claims first WEC win with Toyota

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing have gone back-to-back in the FIA World Endurance Championship to claim their second one-two victory.


Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi of Switzerland and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan took outright honours in the 6 Hours of Fuji for their first win of the 2019–’20 season.


The trio dominated proceedings, leading from pole position all the way to the checkered flag in a run that saw them relatively unchallenged.


The no. 8 TOYOTA TS050 HYBRID blizted the field to come home 33 seconds clear of the field, despite being handed a drive-through penalty in the final hour of the race.


The no. 7 sister TOYOTA TS050 HYBRID driven by Mike Conway (UK), Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) and José María López (Argentina) claimed second place.


Having won the season opening 4 Hours of Silverstone, the no. 7 was handed success ballast. It’s the first time the FIA World Endurance Championship have used the system in the modern era in an effort to bring the manufacturers closer to the privateer entries.


Despite a long expected mid-race rain shower, the two TOYOTA entries never troubled the scorers, switching to intermediate and then slick tyres within minutes of each other.


Bruno Senna (Brazil), Gustavo Menezes (USA), and Norman Nato (France) completed the overall and LMP1 podium for Rebellion Racing. The trio were competitive early on in the six-hour affair, but couldn’t keep pace and eventually fell two laps down on the leaders.


Both Ginetta G60-LT-P1-AER LMP1 cars run by Team LNT failed to compete with the TOYOTA and Rebellion entries due to technical gremlins. Eventually they finished among the LMP2 entries down in 10th and 12th overall.


A fourth place finish looked likely for the Egor Orudzhev (Russia), Luca Ghiotto (Italy) and Ben Hanley (UK) car, but their car suffered a brake failure late in the race. The Guy Smith (UK), Mike Simpson (UK) and Charlie Robertson (UK) car also suffered a right rear puncture that cost them time, which was further compounded by a six-minute stop-and-hold penalty for a technical breach.


The LMP1 series standings are now all square with one win apiece to the TOYOTA entries. The championship heads to China for the 4 Hours of Shanghai over 8–10 November.


CLICK HERE for full 6 Hours of Fuji results


CLICK HERE for full 6 Hours of Fuji class results