Fuji WEC: Toyota defeats Audi in thrilling battle
Toyota claimed a second FIA World Endurance Championship victory in five attempts in a thrilling battle with Audi at Fuji
After six hours of racing, Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima took the win aboard their TS030 HYBRID by just 11 seconds from the Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler.
Third place went to the second Audi shared by Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.
The Toyota and the second-place Audi looked evenly matched until early in the fourth hour when Treluyer tangled with the GTE class Aston Martin of Stefan Mucke.
The nose of the R18 needed replacing as a result of the clash, but the car lost little time because the safety car had been deployed while debris from the collision was cleared up
Treluyer was subsequently penalised for his role in the incident, the stop and go dropping the car nearly 50s behind the Toyota. Audi then gambled in the final hour in the knowledge that the Toyota would need to make a splash-and-dash for fuel in the closing stages.
Audi had single stinted its tyres throughout the race, but chose not to replace Lotterer's Michelins at the car's final stop. But Nakajima was able to build enough of a gap to make the splash and still emerge with five seconds in hand.
Nakajima said: "I was getting the message from my engineer that I had to make a 40s gap so we could make the splash. I was pushing like hell and Andre was giving me a hard time, but fortunately we just made it."
The Anglo-Swiss Rebellion Racing squad sealed the Privateer teams' trophy with fourth place for Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost aboard its lead Lola-Toyota B12/60.
The pair were dominant in the unofficial privateers class, finishing one lap up on the JRM HPD ARX-03a shared by Peter Dumbreck, David Brabham and Karun Chandhok.
ADR-Delta drivers John Martin, Tor Graves and Shinji Nakano took LMP2 honours in their ORECA-Nissan 03, but it was not enough to stop the Starworks squad from taking the LMP2 teams' title.
Its HPD ARX-03b finished second in the hands of Stephane Sarrazin, Enzo Potolicchio and Ryan Dalziel.
Porsche was dominant in the GTE Pro class. The Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 GT3-RSR led all but the first hour in the hands of Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz.
Results - 233 laps:
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota 6h00m42.920s 2. P1 Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer Audi + 11.223s 3. P1 Kristensen/McNish Audi + 1m32.565s 4. P1 Prost/Jani Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 6 laps 5. P1 Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck JRM HPD + 7 laps 6. P1 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD + 7 laps 7. P1 Belicchi/Primat Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 8 laps 8. P2 Martin/Graves/Nakano ADR-Delta ORECA-Nissan + 13 laps 9. P2 Potolicchio/Dalziel/Sarrazin Starworks HPD + 14 laps 10. P2 Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla OAK Morgan-Nissan + 14 laps 11. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan + 17 laps 12. P2 Liuzzi/Rossiter/Weeda Lotus Lola-Lotus + 17 laps 13. P2 Giroix/Ihara/Deletraz Gulf Lola-Nissan + 19 laps 14. P2 Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian Greaves-Nissan + 21 laps 15. P2 Mailleux/Lombard/Tresson Signatech ORECA-Nissan + 22 laps 16. P1 Baguette/Kraihamer/Sato OAK Pescarolo-Honda + 23 laps 17. GTE P Lieb/Lietz Felbermayr Porsche + 26 laps 18. GTE P Fisichella/Bruni AF Ferrari + 27 laps 19. GTE P Mucke/Turner Aston Martin + 27 laps 20. GTE P Bertolini/Beretta AF Ferrari + 27 laps 21. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy Larbre Corvette + 29 laps 22. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo Krohn Ferrari + 30 laps 23. GTE A Ried/Roda/Ruberti Felbermayr Porsche + 31 laps 24. GTE A Belloc/Bourret/Gibon Larbre Corvette + 34 laps 25. GTE A Camathias/Kobayashi/Daniels JWA Porsche + 37 laps Retirements: P2 Holzer/Schultis Lotus Lola-Lotus 139 laps Disqualified: P2 Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov Signatech ORECA-Nissan 213 laps
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