Fuji WEC: Buemi/Hartley/Nakajima dominate, Toyota team-mates slowed

Toyota secured another dominant one-two finish in the Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship, as Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima claimed their first win of the season

Fuji WEC: Buemi/Hartley/Nakajima dominate, Toyota team-mates slowed

After taking an easy pole position with the help of the new LMP1 handicap system, the crew of the of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid took was untouchable en route to a first victory as a trio - with former Porsche driver Hartley scoring his first WEC win since the 2017 Austin race.

Saddled by a theoretical time loss of 0.4 seconds per lap under the new system, Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez, were powerless to put up a fight.

The arrival of a light rain-shower mid-race did little to change the pecking order, with both Toyotas switching to intermediate tyres and returning to slicks at the same time, meaning that the #7 car ended up 34s adrift at the finish.

That was despite the #8 car earning a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding with just over two hours to run, which reduced the winning squad's advantage by 30s.

Completing the podium was Rebellion Racing's sole entry driven by Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes, two laps down.

Senna enjoyed a spirited battle with Kobayashi in the early laps over second place but the advantage of the hybrid-powered Toyota in traffic soon told, and shortly after the two-hour mark the Gibson-powered R-13 had already dropped off the lead lap.

The #5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 of Egor Orudzhev, Luca Ghiotto and Ben Hanley was on course for fourth place until a late brake failure while Hanley was at the wheel consigned the car to the garage for 16 minutes and left it 16 laps down.

Their misfortune promoted the sister #6 car of Guy Smith, Mike Simpson and Charlie Robertson to fourth in the LMP1 order, albeit 14 laps down after suffering a right-rear puncture and then a six-minute stop-and-hold penalty for using two more tyres than the rules allow.

LMP2: De Vries stars as RTN gets first win

Racing Team Nederland scored a first LMP2 class win, as newly-crowned Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries turned in a star performance to take victory in the ORECA 07 he shares with compatriots Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd.

After taking over the car from van Eerd with a little under two hours to go, de Vries overturned a deficit of almost 1m30s in relation to the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, which had spent much of the race vying for the lead with High Class Racing's ORECA.

Toyota protege Kenta Yamashita had just passed Ho-Pin Tung to take the lead before handing over to gentleman driver Mark Patterson with 90 minutes to run, giving Tung a buffer of 10s over Anthony Davidson in the JOTA Sport ORECA.

Davidson caught up Tung and vaulted into what appeared to be the net lead at the final round of pitstops - but de Vries had eroded the RTN's car deficit to such an extent that he was able to make his final splash-and-go with 25 minutes to run and rejoin the track 6s ahead.

The Dutch driver sealed victory for RTN by 26s over the JOTA car shared by Davidson, Roberto Gonzalez and Antonio Felix da Costa, while the Jackie Chan car of Tung, Will Stevens and Gabriel Aubry ended up a lapped third as it was slowed by late engine problems.

High Class ended up fifth as Patterson dropped back late on, behind the United Autosports ORECA that was delayed by a loss of power while Phil Hanson was at the wheel.

Signatech Alpine finished eighth and last in class after an early coming-together between Pierre Ragues and the Red River Sport Ferrari of Bonamy Grimes at Turn 1 left the #36 car needing a trip to the garage - ending a run of nine podiums for Signatech.

GTE: Aston takes first dry-weather win

Aston Martin scored a first GTE Pro win for its new Vantage GTE without the help of bad weather, as Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen took their first victory in almost a year.

The all-Danish duo assumed the lead of the class when Thiim passed Alex Lynn in the sister Aston Martin for the lead into the Turn 10 chicane in the second hour, and an off at Turn 1 for Martin when he took over the #97 car towards the end of the third hour cost the second Aston more time.

Porsche finished second with the #92 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen, helped by making a stop under full-course yellow while the #97 Aston that eventually finished third pitted under green.

Ferrari's pair of works AF Corse-run 488 GTEs were fourth and fifth, struggling for pace throughout. Two late punctures contributed to the Davide Rigon/Miguel Molina car finishing behind team-mates Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.

The #91 Porsche was sixth and last, two laps down, following a drive-through penalty for track limits abuse and power problems.

TF Sport secured its first WEC class win with a dominant run in GTE Am thanks to the efforts of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonathan Adam in the #90 Aston Martin.

The trio ended up 42s clear of Silverstone-winning AF Corse Ferrari crew Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen, while the Project 1 Porsche shared by Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga recovered from being sent to the back of the grid to secure third.

Aston Martin's works Am car was 22 laps down after being clouted by the Dempsey-Proton Porsche of local driver Satoshi Hoshino at the chicane on the opening lap.

Race result

Pos Class Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, B.Hartley Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 232 6h00m30.025s
2 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 232 33.955s
3 LMP1 B.Senna, G.Menezes, N.Nato Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Gibson 230 2 Laps
4 LMP2 F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, N.de Vries Racing Team Nederland ORECA/Gibson 222 10 Laps
5 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, G.Aubry, W.Stevens Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 221 11 Laps
6 LMP2 P.Hanson, F.Albuquerque, O.Jarvis United Autosports ORECA/Gibson 220 12 Laps
7 LMP2 M.Patterson, K.Yamashita, A.Fjordbach High Class Racing ORECA/Gibson 219 13 Laps
8 LMP2 N.Lapierre, A.Borga, A.Coigny COOL Racing ORECA/Gibson 219 13 Laps
9 LMP1 C.Robertson, M.Simpson, G.Smith Team LNT Ginetta/AER 218 14 Laps
10 LMP2 T.Laurent, A.Negrao, P.Ragues Signatech Alpine Elf Alpine/Gibson 217 15 Laps
11 LMP1 L.Ghiotto, B.Hanley, E.Orudzhev Team LNT Ginetta/AER 216 16 Laps
12 LMP2 R.Lacorte, A.Belicchi, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Racing Dallara/Gibson 216 16 Laps
13 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 211 21 Laps
14 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 210 22 Laps
15 GTE Pro A.Lynn, M.Martin Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 210 22 Laps
16 GTE Pro J.Calado, A.P.Guidi AF Corse Ferrari 210 22 Laps
17 GTE Pro D.Rigon, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 209 23 Laps
18 GTE Pro G.Bruni, R.Lietz Porsche GT Team Porsche 208 24 Laps
19 GTE Am S.Yoluc, C.Eastwood, J.Adam TF Sport Aston Martin 208 24 Laps
20 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, N.Nielsen AF Corse Ferrari 207 25 Laps
21 GTE Am B.Keating, F.Fraga, J.Bleekemolen Team Project 1 Porsche 207 25 Laps
22 GTE Am M.Ishikawa, O.Beretta, K.Cozzolino MR Racing Ferrari 207 25 Laps
23 GTE Am C.Ried, R.Pera, M.Campbell Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 207 25 Laps
24 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 206 26 Laps
25 GTE Am E.Perfetti, D.H.Hansson, M.Cairoli Team Project 1 Porsche 206 26 Laps
26 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Watson, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 204 28 Laps
27 GTE Am S.Hoshino, A.De Leener, T.Preining Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 198 34 Laps
28 GTE Am B.Grimes, J.Mowlem, C.Hollings Red River Sport Ferrari 197 35 Laps
29 GTE Am P.D.Lana, D.Turner, R.Gunn Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 186 46 Laps
- LMP2 R.Gonzalez, A.F.da Costa, A.Davidson JOTA ORECA/Gibson 222 Disqualified

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