Alonso, Nakajima, Buemi win Le Mans 24 Hours and 2018/19 WEC title

Toyota's Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima, and Sebastien Buemi took an unlikely back-to-back Le Mans 24 Hours victory after a near final-hour problem snatched a win from the dominant sister car

Alonso, Nakajima, Buemi win Le Mans 24 Hours and 2018/19 WEC title

With around 62 minutes left on the clock, Jose Maria Lopez slowed between the two Mulsanne chicanes and TV footage suggested his Toyota was stuck in third gear.

Lopez then had to slowly drive the #7 Toyota around the majority of the 8.3-mile circuit before entering the pits.

Toyota confirmed that the #7 car's tyre-pressure sensors had told it that the car had a front-right puncture, with the tyre then changed at the penultimate pitstop.

But it transpired the puncture was actually on the left-rear tyre, forcing Lopez to pit again the next time around.

Lopez was then unable to catch up to Nakajima, with the Toyota driver and team-mates Alonso and Buemi sealing the World Endurance Championship title alongside their second Le Mans win.

Hopes of a first Le Mans win for the #7 crew had looked increasingly likely after Mike Conway's strong starting stint helped build a lead of over a minute clear of the sister car in the opening hours.

It took an intervention from the safety car to get the #8 Toyota truly into the lead for the first time during the seventh hour.

Nakajima had taken advantage of a slow zone, during which rain was falling lightly, to stop and switch to a new set of slick tyres.

Lopez stopped a lap later after the slow zone in anticipation of rainfall that would require intermediates tyre, but he was then sent back out on the same tyres because the threat did not materialise.

But the safety car influence levelled out when the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 of Thomas Laurent crashed soon after and allowed Lopez to close on Nakajima before making a move for the lead.

The #8 Toyota fought back when Lopez made two errors in quick succession during the eighth hour, with a trip across the Mulsanne corner gravel allowing Nakajima to breeze by for the lead.

A similar to-and-fro battle would occur between the impressive Conway and Buemi after the previous two drivers stepped out of the Toyotas but, by the mid-distance mark, the #7 car became increasingly dominant until its late heartbreak.

As expected, the privateer LMP1 contingent did not prove a threat to Toyota, apart from Gustavo Menezes's impressive start in the #3 Rebellion that allowed him to pass front-row starter Buemi on the first lap.

But a spate of reliability problems and driver errors put any chance of a true SMP Racing and Rebellion head-to-head to bed.

Stoffel Vandoorne took the #11 SMP Racing BRE-AER BR1 to the flag in third place, six laps down on the Toyotas, having played a key role in overcoming Rebellion in his first stint by hounding and then passing the #3 car during a slow pitstop.

But it was the #17 SMP car that looked like it had an edge until Egor Orudzhev crashed at the Porsche Curves and forced the car he shares with Stephane Sarrazin and ex-Formula 1 driver Sergey Sirotkin into retirement during the 11th hour.

Bruno Senna crossed the line fourth in the #1 Rebellion, after falling as low as 26th overall following an early puncture.

The #1 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 overcame the sister car after multiple late incidents resigned last-stint driver Menezes to fifth at the flag - six laps down on Senna.

The #3 Rebellion's most costly moment came when Menezes - who impressed in spells - beached the car at the Porsche Curves and required recovering.

Laurent's crash under braking on the Mulsanne also caused a significant delay for the #3 Rebellion before it could continue and the entry suffered from multiple brake problems in the race.

ByKolles and the #10 DragonSpeed BRE-Gibson BR1 were plagued by reliability problems and failed to make the flag, retiring after 163 and 76 laps of the total 342 respectively.

LMP2 - Signatech-Alpine wins again

Signatech-Alpine made it back-to-back LMP2 class victories at Le Mans with Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet to seal its first WEC LMP2 title since 2016.

It was the third victory at the race for Phillipe Sinault's team in four years, and continued Lapierre's 100% victory record in four LMP2 starts at Le Mans, three coming with Signatech.

The #36 crew's ORECA 07-Gibson held the lead from the 19th hour to the end after the #26 G-Drive Racing Aurus-branded ORECA lost 20 minutes at a scheduled pitstop with a mechanical problem believed to be related to the starter motor.

Roman Rusinov, who was at the wheel at the time, and team-mates Jean-Eric Vergne and Job Van Uitert, had enjoyed a 90-second lead prior to the problem thanks to a safety car intervention during the 10th hour.

The two teams had enjoyed a spirited battle for much of the race up to that point, with Lapierre leading from the first pitstops - when he ran one lap longer than the polesitting #28 TDS Racing ORECA started by Matthieu Vaxiviere - until the fourth hour, when van Uitert passed Thiriet.

Negrao then retook the lead from Rusinov in hour six, before Vergne returned the favour in hour seven.

Negrao kept pace with Vergne for the remainder of his stint, but was delayed coming into his pitbox at the start of the eighth hour and lost 14s.

That would prove decisive when Marco Sorensen's accident at Indianapolis in the 10th hour meant the two leaders were caught behind different safety cars, which looked to have decided the outcome of the race until G-Drive's problem.

After a short seven lap stint to ensure Thiriet met his minimum drive time, Lapierre returned to the cockpit early in the final hour and brought the #36 car home 2m22s clear of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry.

The Jota-run crew lost touch with the leaders in hour 18 when Aubry slowed suddenly on the Mulsanne Straight and lost a minute getting back to the pits.

The car spent much of the rest of the race around one lap adrift, albeit comfortably clear of the third-placed #28 TDS ORECA Vaxiviere shared with Loic Duval and gentleman driver Francois Perrodo.

The #28 car had dropped as low as 13th after Vaxiviere made way for Perrodo in the second hour, but Duval and Vaxiviere drove back-to-back stints through the night and rose up the order as problems hit their rivals.

Pastor Maldonado was within striking distance of the eventual winners when he crashed the #31 DragonSpeed ORECA at Tetre Rouge in the 17th hour, while problems with the left-hand door on the #22 United Autosports Ligier put Filipe Albuquerque, Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson two laps down.

It enjoyed a spirited battle for fourth in the closing stages with the #30 Duquiene Engineering ORECA that had been delayed by a puncture in hour one, which was ultimately decided in the favour of the Ligier crew when Nico Jamin suffered a suspension problem in the final hour.

That promoted the #48 IDEC Sport ORECA of Paul-Loup Chatin, Memo Rojas and Paul Lafargue fifth and the recovering #26 G-Drive crew to sixth.

GTE Pro: Ferrari wins after Corvette heartbreak

Ferrari scored its first GTE Pro class victory since 2014 thanks to the efforts of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra in the #51 AF Corse 488 GTE.

The vagaries of the safety car periods had essentially turned the battle for honours into a two-horse race between the #51 Ferrari and the #63 Corvette of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller heading into the morning hours.

Then the 21st-hour intervention safety car caused by Nyck de Vries' high-speed off in the Racing Team Nederland Dallara at Indianapolis led to the #63 car getting held at the end of pitlane, which handed the #51 Ferrari a one-minute lead it would never lose.

Any chance of Corvette salvaging a podium finish was lost when Magnussen spun at the Porsche Curves, making light contact with the barriers. That cost the car two laps and a further 15-minute trip to the garage left it five laps off the pace.

Corvette had already lost one car when Marcel Fassler hit the barriers at the same part of the track with force towards the end of the sixth hour, the result of contact with the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Satoshi Hoshino for which the stewards judged Fassler to blame.

Behind the winning Ferrari, Porsche filled out the remaining spots on the podium, with the #91 car of Gianmaria Bruni, Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz beating the best of the IMSA entries, the #93 of Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Patrick Pilet, by under 20s.

Ford's quartet of retro-liveried GTs filled out the next four places, led by the #68 machine of 2016 class winners Sebastien Bourdais, Dirk Muller and Joey Hand.

Exhaust problems in the night cost the #92 Porsche crew any of chance of defending their 2018 victory, but 10th and fifth among the WEC points-scoring cars was enough to ensure Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen came away with title honours.

Both BMW and Aston Martin had races to forget, BMW's top finisher finishing six laps down in 11th and both Astons suffering incidents in the night.

Marco Sorensen's violent crash at Indianapolis in the #95 Vantage GTE, which had started on pole, made it one of three non-finishers in the class, along with the #64 Corvette and the #71 Ferrari, which suffered engine troubles.

Keating Motorsports' privateer Ford GT, piloted by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, held on for a narrow win in GTE Am, surviving a late scare when owner-driver Keating picked up a stop-and-go-penalty.

The Wynn's-liveried #85 machine had led by as much as a lap, but in the closing hours the #56 Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Egidio Perfetti and Patrick Lindsey had worked its way back into the fray even before Keating earned his penalty for spinning his wheels in a pitstop.

That infraction reduced a 36s lead to under five seconds, but Bleekemolen was able to pull away in the final hour to secure victory by around 50s, helped by a late splash for Bergmeister - who nonetheless sealed WEC GTE Am class title honours along with his team-mates.

The final spot on the class podium went to the JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Rodrigo Baptista, Jeff Segal and Wei Lu, which ended up only 40s behind the Project 1 Porsche.

Race result

Pos Class Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, F.Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 385 24h00m10.574s
2 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 385 16.972s
3 LMP1 V.Petrov, M.Aleshin, S.Vandoorne SMP Racing BR Engineering/AER 379 6 Laps
4 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, B.Senna Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Gibson 376 9 Laps
5 LMP1 T.Laurent, N.Berthon, G.Menezes Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Gibson 370 15 Laps
6 LMP2 N.Lapierre, A.Negrao, P.Thiriet Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 368 17 Laps
7 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, S.Richelmi, G.Aubry Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 367 18 Laps
8 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, L.Duval TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 366 19 Laps
9 LMP2 P.Hanson, F.Albuquerque, P.Di Resta United Autosports Ligier/Gibson 365 20 Laps
10 LMP2 P.Lafargue, P-L.Chatin, M.Rojas Idec Sport Racing ORECA/Gibson 364 21 Laps
11 LMP2 R.Rusinov, J.van Uitert, J-E.Vergne G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 364 21 Laps
12 LMP2 N.Jamin, P.Ragues, R.Dumas Duqueine Engineering ORECA/Gibson 363 22 Laps
13 LMP2 R.Binder, J.Canal, W.Stevens Panis Barthez Competition Ligier/Gibson 362 23 Laps
14 LMP2 T.Gommendy, V.Capillaire, J.Hirschi Graff ORECA/Gibson 362 23 Laps
15 LMP2 D.Zollinger, A.Pizzitola, J.Falb Algarve Pro Racing ORECA/Gibson 357 28 Laps
16 LMP2 A.Fjordbach, D.Andersen, M.Beche High Class Racing Ligier/Gibson 356 29 Laps
17 LMP2 E.Creed, R.Ricci, N.Boulle Larbre Competition Ligier/Gibson 355 30 Laps
18 LMP2 R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto, A.Belicchi Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara/Gibson 352 33 Laps
19 LMP2 R.Cullen, A.Brundle, W.Owen United Autosports Ligier/Gibson 348 37 Laps
20 GTE Pro A.P.Guidi, J.Calado, D.Serra AF Corse Ferrari 342 43 Laps
21 GTE Pro R.Lietz, G.Bruni, F.Makowiecki Porsche GT Team Porsche 342 43 Laps
22 GTE Pro P.Pilet, E.Bamber, N.Tandy Porsche GT Team Porsche 342 43 Laps
23 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, J.Bomarito Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 342 43 Laps
24 GTE Pro R.Briscoe, R.Westbrook, S.Dixon Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 341 44 Laps
25 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla, B.Johnson Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 340 45 Laps
26 LMP2 F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, N.de Vries Racing Team Nederland Dallara/Gibson 340 45 Laps
27 GTE Pro S.Muller, M.Jaminet, D.Olsen Porsche GT Team Porsche 339 46 Laps
28 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, M.Rockenfeller Corvette Racing Chevrolet 337 48 Laps
29 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre, L.Vanthoor Porsche GT Team Porsche 337 48 Laps
30 GTE Pro A.Farfus, A.F.da Costa, J.Krohn BMW Team MTEK BMW 335 50 Laps
31 GTE Am J.Bergmeister, P.Lindsey, E.Perfetti Team Project 1 Porsche 334 51 Laps
32 GTE Am J.Segal, R.Baptista, W.Lu JMW Motorsport Ferrari 334 51 Laps
33 GTE Am C.MacNeil, T.Vilander, R.Smith WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 333 52 Laps
34 GTE Am M.Campbell, C.Ried, J.Andlauer Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 332 53 Laps
35 GTE Am T.Kimura, K.Cozzolino, C.Ledogar CarGuy Racing Ferrari 332 53 Laps
36 GTE Am L.Prette Jr., P.Prette, V.Abril Proton Competition Porsche 332 53 Laps
37 GTE Am L.P.-Companc, M.Griffin, M.Cressoni Clearwater Racing Ferrari 331 54 Laps
38 GTE Am M.Wainwright, B.Barker, T.Preining Gulf Racing Porsche 331 54 Laps
39 GTE Am M.Gostner, R.Frey, M.Gatting Kessel Racing Ferrari 330 55 Laps
40 GTE Pro P.Derani, O.Jarvis, J.Gounon Risi Competizione Ferrari 329 56 Laps
41 GTE Am M.Ishikawa, O.Beretta, E.Cheever MR Racing Ferrari 328 57 Laps
42 GTE Am S.Yoluc, E.Hankey, C.Eastwood TF Sport Aston Martin 327 58 Laps
43 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella Spirit of Race Ferrari 327 58 Laps
44 GTE Pro M.Martin, A.Lynn, J.Adam Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 325 60 Laps
45 LMP2 J.Smiechowski, J.Winslow, N.Moore Inter Europol Competition Ligier/Gibson 325 60 Laps
46 GTE Am C.Schiavoni, S.Pianezzola, A.Piccini Kessel Racing Ferrari 324 61 Laps
47 GTE Pro N.Catsburg, M.Tomczyk, P.Eng BMW Team MTEK BMW 309 76 Laps
- GTE Pro J.Hand, D.Muller, S.Bourdais Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 342 Disqualified
- GTE Am B.Keating, J.Bleekemolen, F.Fraga Keating Motorsports Ford 334 Disqualified
- LMP2 J.Farano, A.Maini, N.Nato RLR M Sport/Tower Events ORECA/Gibson 295 Not classified
- LMP2 R.Gonzalez, P.Maldonado, A.Davidson DragonSpeed ORECA/Gibson 245 Retirement
- LMP2 D.H.Hansson, J.King, R.Taylor Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 199 Retirement
- LMP1 S.Sarrazin, E.Orudzhev, S.Sirotkin SMP Racing BR Engineering/AER 163 Retirement
- LMP1 T.Dillmann, O.Webb, P.Ruberti ByKOLLES Racing Team ENSO CLM/Nissan 163 Retirement
- LMP2 M.Konopka, H.Enqvist, K.Tereschenko ARC Bratislava Ligier/Gibson 160 Retirement
- GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 140 Retirement
- GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 132 Retirement
- GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 87 Retirement
- GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing Chevrolet 82 Retirement
- GTE Am S.Hoshino, G.Roda, M.Cairoli Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 79 Retirement
- LMP1 H.Hedman, B.Hanley, R.van der Zande DragonSpeed BR Engineering/Gibson 76 Retirement
- GTE Am P.Long, T.Krohn, N.Jonsson Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 0 Withdrawn

Final championship standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Fernando Alonso 198
1 Kazuki Nakajima 198
1 Sebastien Buemi 198
2 Jose Maria Lopez 157
2 Kamui Kobayashi 157
2 Mike Conway 157
3 Gustavo Menezes 114
3 Thomas Laurent 114
4 Mikhail Aleshin 94
4 Vitaly Petrov 94
5 Andre Lotterer 91
5 Neel Jani 91
6 Mathias Beche 73
7 Bruno Senna 73
8 Andre Negrao 64
8 Nicolas Lapierre 64
8 Pierre Thiriet 64
9 Nathanael Berthon 51
10 Gabriel Aubry 51
10 Ho-Pin Tung 51
10 Stephane Richelmi 51
11 Stoffel Vandoorne 38
12 Pastor Maldonado 36.5
12 Roberto Gonzalez 36.5
13 Jazeman Jaafar 35
13 Nabil Jeffri 35
13 Weiron Tan 35
14 Egor Orudzhev 27
14 Stephane Sarrazin 27
15 Jenson Button 27
16 Anthony Davidson 26.5
17 Oliver Webb 22.5
17 Tom Dillmann 22.5
18 Brendon Hartley 19
19 David Heinemeier Hansson 15.5
19 Jordan King 15.5
19 Will Stevens 15.5
20 Erwin Creed 14.5
20 Romano Ricci 14.5
21 Frits van Eerd 14
21 Giedo van der Garde 14
22 Dominik Kraihamer 12
23 Sergey Sirotkin 12
24 Francois Perrodo 12
24 Matthieu Vaxiviere 12
25 Nyck de Vries 10.5
26 James Rossiter 10
27 Loic Duval 9
28 Ben Hanley 8.5
28 Renger van der Zande 8.5
29 James Allen 8
30 Gunnar Jeannette 5
31 Jan Lammers 3.5
32 Nick Boulle 3.5
33 Yoshiharu Mori 2
34 Jean-Eric Vergne 2
35 Thomas Dagoneau 2
36 Keiko Ihara 1
37 Norman Nato 1
38 Charlie Robertson 1
38 Leo Roussel 1
38 Mike Simpson 1
39 Julien Canal 0.5
40 Henrik Hedman 0.5
41 Enzo Guibbert 0.5
42 Paolo Ruberti 0.5
43 Alex Brundle 0
43 Matevos Isaakyan 0
43 Oliver Rowland 0
43 Oliver Turvey 0
43 Rene Binder 0
43 Ricky Taylor 0

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