Race report

Portimao WEC: #8 Toyota takes victory after team orders call

Toyota celebrated its 100th world championship endurance race with victory at the World Endurance Championship Portimao 8 Hours for the #8 entry of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley.

Buemi brought the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid car to the finish at the Algarve International Circuit narrowly ahead of the #7 Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez after a confusing double team order call, with Buemi briefly being ordered to let Lopez past before being handed the lead once again.

Alpine's grandfathered LMP1 chassis proved to be a match for the Toyota Hypercars after the World Endurance Championship's latest Balance of Performance tweaks ahead of Portugal's second round of the season.

Polesitter Nicolas Lapierre led the early stages of the race in the #38 Alpine A480-Gibson with what appeared to be a slight pace advantage on both Toyotas, but the LMP1 car's pace didn't prove sufficient to offset its shorter stint lengths, with the Toyota pair managing to make fewer pitstops.

Toyota and Alpine traded the lead on the rhythm of their pitstop cycles until the race was effectively reset with 2 hours and 30 minutes to go due to a safety car, coming out for Miro Konopka's stranded ARC Bratislava LMP2 car.

In the #7 Toyota Kobayashi held the lead at the restart ahead of Nakajima and Lapierre. While Kobayashi stormed off, Nakajima and Lapierre tussled for second, with Lapierre passing the Toyota into Turn 1.

In the final segment of the race Alpine again had to make an extra pitstop for fuel, which dropped it back to third.

Lopez passed Buemi in the seventh hour, but Buemi was told his team-mate would need an extra splash of fuel at the end.

Indeed, Lopez brought the #7 in with 1h06m minutes to go, guaranteeing an extra pitstop in the final hour, while Buemi carried on for another nine minutes and managed to make the car's seventh pitstop its last.

But with Lopez making his splash under a full-course yellow, he came out right behind Buemi.

Toyota decided to swap positions to let Lopez show if he had pace in hand, but when Buemi managed to keep up with the sister car the Cologne team reversed its decision and allowed Buemi to retake the lead until the finish.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile Andre Negrao, who shared the Alpine with Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere, took third over one minute behind the Toyotas.

The solo Glickenhaus 007 LMH, which made its racing debut in Portimao, managed to see the chequered flag on its debut, albeit 54 laps down on the leaders.

The car fell behind after Ryan Briscoe got caught up in a melee with two GTE Am cars, the #777 D’station Racing Aston Martin and #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, which resulted in a lengthy trip to the garage to repair the damage.

The Glickenhaus had already been off the pace and it went a lap down on its fellow Hypercar runners in the opening hour, with starting driver Richard Westbrook reporting severe tyre wear.

As is often the case, LMP2 was the class to watch in Portimao with a four-way battle for the win that raged until the end.

The early stages were characterised by a battle between Giedo van der Garde in the #29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA and the #31 WRT ORECA of Robin Frijns, with the latter team taking the advantage when gentleman racer Frits van Eerd took over the '29 RTN car.

But a pair of drivethrough penalties set back WRT, one for speeding in the pits as Frijns came in to hand over to Habsburg, and another for not respecting blue flags.

That handed the net lead to the #22 United Autosports car, the title-winning entry which also won Spa's opening round.

United's main competition came from the JOTA’s pair of ORECA 07-Gibsons, despite the polesitting #28 car of Tom Blomqvist being spun around at the start by Antonio Felix da Costa in the #38 sister car.

The Konopka-triggered safety car also tightened the LMP2 lead battle between United, WRT and the two JOTAs.

Soon after the restart Wayne Boyd brought in the #22, releasing JOTA's Stoffel Vandoorne and WRT's Charles Milesi, who had been involved in an exciting duel before the full-course yellow.

After the next pitstop sequence Vandoorne retained a healthy buffer on Phil Hanson in the #22, with Milesi in the #31 WRT car further behind.

In the #38 JOTA of Anthony Davidson charged to third after a brilliant door to door fight with the Milesi. The #38 car also got ahead of the United entry to make it a JOTA one-two.

In sharp contrast to Toyota's controlling measures, both JOTA cars fought for the win until the final minutes, with Da Costa finally getting the better of Blomqvist to take a popular home victory with Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.

#38 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson: Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Anthony Davidson

#38 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson: Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Anthony Davidson

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Blomqvist settled for second in the #28 car he shares with Vandoorne and Sean Gelael, with United Autosports beating the WRT squad to third.

Racing Team Nederland dropped out of contention after contact with a GT car by Job van Uitert, which helped the #20 High Class Racing ORECA to a comfortable lead in the Por-Am subclass.

But after stopping on the track in the final hour the Danish trio Jan Magnussen, Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen ceded the win to the #70 Realteam ORECA of Esteban Garcia, Norman Nato and Mathias Beche.

Ferrari commanded the GTE Pro class, with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado establishing a dominant lead in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo after polesitter Kevin Estre had led the first hour in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Estre's team-mate Michael Christensen was then passed by the second #71 Ferrari of Miguel Molina in the fourth hour to make it a one-two for the Prancing Horse.

The #51 Ferrari's lead never seemed in significant danger and it survived the safety car interruption to take a clear win.

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The battle for second place did rage on and was settled in the final hour when the #52 Ferrari managed to make its final stop under a full-course yellow, Molina and Daniel Serra securing the position ahead of the #92 Porsche of Estre, Christensen and Neel Jani.

The #91 sister Porsche of Gianmaria Bruno, Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz was fourth and last in class.

In GTE Am the #98 NorthWest Aston Martin initially led the way, ahead of the #47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari and the #54 AF Corse machine, but a second-half of the race off by Paul Dalla Lana dropped the car back, with the Cetilar Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Robert Lacorte taking the lead.

In the final two hours Sernagiotto was passed for the lead by Ricardo Pera in the #56 Project 1 Porsche, but a time penalty for Pera - for tagging the #70 Realteam LMP2 car - handed the class win back to Cetilar.

Pera took second with Matteo Cairoli and Egidio Perfetti, while the #54 Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci took third in class.

Watch all World Endurance Championship races live on our OTT platform Motorsport.tv. The next race is scheduled at Monza on 18 July.

WEC Portimao 8 Hours results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Laps Time Gap
1 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 300 -  
2 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 300 1.800 1.800
3 36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 300 1'08.597 1'08.597
4 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 296 0.007 4 Laps
5 28 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Oreca 07 LMP2 296 4.689 4 Laps
6 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Oreca 07 LMP2 295 5 laps  
7 31 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 295 30.195 5 Laps
8 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Oreca 07 LMP2 293 7 laps  
9 1 Colombia Tatiana Calderon
Germany Sophia Flörsch
Netherlands Beitske Visser
Oreca 07 LMP2 290 10 laps  
10 70 Switzerland Esteban Garcia
Switzerland Mathias Beche
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 290 38.451 10 Laps
11 21 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
Oreca 07 LMP2 288 12 laps  
12 20 Denmark Jan Magnussen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Denmark Dennis Andersen
Oreca 07 LMP2 285 15 laps  
13 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
Oreca 07 LMP2 280 0.676 20 Laps
14 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 279 21 laps  
15 52 Brazil Daniel Serra
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 279 25.066 21 Laps
16 92 France Kevin Estre
Switzerland Neel Jani
Denmark Michael Christensen
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 279 45.043 21 Laps
17 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 278 22 laps  
18 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 274 26 laps  
19 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Italy Riccardo Pera
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 274 5.830 26 Laps
20 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 274 51.233 26 Laps
21 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Brazil Augusto Farfus
Brazil Marcos Gomes
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 274 1'18.720 26 Laps
22 57 Japan Takeshi Kimura
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
Australia Scott Andrews
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 274 1'32.830 26 Laps
23 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Andrea Piccini
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 273 27 laps  
24 85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Italy Manuela Gostner
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 273 1'12.854 27 Laps
25 33 United States Ben Keating
Dylan Pereira
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 272 28 laps  
26 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 271 29 laps  
27 88 United States Dominique Bastien
Germany Marco Seefried
France Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 269 31 laps  
28 83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 267 33 laps  
29 44 Slovakia Miro Konopka
United Kingdom Oliver Webb
United Kingdom Tom Jackson
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 261 39 laps  
30 709 Australia Ryan Briscoe
France Romain Dumas
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Glickenhaus 007 LMH HYPERCAR 246 54 laps  
31 77 Germany Christian Ried
Australia Jaxon Evans
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 88 211 laps  
32 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Andrew Watson
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 69 230 laps  

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