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Race report

WEC Imola: Toyota beats Porsche to win rain-impacted thriller

Toyota took its first World Endurance Championship victory of the season over Porsche at Imola, after choosing the correct tyres in a mid-race rain shower that caught out Ferrari.

Race winner #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Nyck de Vries

Photo by: Paul Foster

Mike Conway, Nyck de Vries and Kamui Kobayashi won by 7.081s in their #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar over the #6 Penske Porsche Motorsport 963 LMDh of Laurens Vanthoor, Andre Lotterer and Kevin Estre, both crews taking advantage of a timely switch to wets when the previously dominant Ferraris attempted without success to keep its dry tyres working.
Starting sixth, Conway overtook Fred Makowiecki's PPM Porsche at the restart following an early safety car, then gained two places at the first round of stops by overcutting Robert Kubica's customer AF Corse-run Ferrari 499P LMH and benefitting from a slow stop for early leader Nicklas Nielsen's factory #50 Ferrari - who required a fresh left-rear tyre. 
Running third, Conway tracked Vanthoor to the next round of stops before handing over to de Vries, who swiftly leapfrogged Lotterer.
Nielsen had vaulted back to second behind team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi's #51 Ferrari by the time the pair finally stepped out of their respective cockpits approaching half-distance, with de Vries by this time close behind.
James Calado (in for Giovinazzi) had to defend hard against Miguel Molina (in for Nielsen) when he climbed aboard with new right-hand tyres but held off the Spaniard's determined attacks and had pulled away by the time De Vries then took second. 
The Dutchman responded quickest to the end of a full course yellow, required when Carl Wattana Bennett crashed the Isotta Fraschini at Variante Alta. 
Conditions were becoming tricky, and when Callum Ilott beached his Jota Porsche in the gravel at the first Rivazza, having gone slightly off-line passing the Iron Lynx Lamborghini, it brought out a virtual safety car that would turn into a full safety car.
Start action, #50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen, #83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

Start action, #50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen, #83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

This came moments after Calado had pitted under green - and once others had made their stops under the caution, he rejoined fourth with Kobayashi now leading Molina and Estre.
Molina immediately pounced on Kobayashi when the race went green amid worsening rain, with the Hypercars struggling to warm their tyres to the extent that both cars were overtaken by Joel Sturm's GT3 class-leading Porsche. 
Crucially, Kobayashi immediately dived into the pits for wets, as did Estre, while all three Ferraris stayed out. It proved the wrong call, with Kobayashi and Estre multiple seconds faster per lap and the track especially treacherous in the final sector.
This prompted the trio of Ferraris to follow Matt Campbell (in the second PPM Porsche) in bailing on the slicks and switching to wets, Calado passing the newly-inserted Antonio Fuoco (in for Molina) for sixth - although they would later swap places again. 
The time the Ferraris had lost could not be recovered to pose a challenge for the podium, although it gambled by keeping Alessandro Pier Guidi (in for Calado) on wets shortly before the remainder of the Hypercar runners pivoted back to slicks. 
Campbell vaulted ahead of the second Toyota driven by Brendon Hartley with a later switch of rubber after the New Zealander went into the gravel on the exit of the Villeneuve chicane.
Kobayashi also straightlined the Tamburello chicane following his own change of tyres, but kept his lead intact over Estre. 
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Nyck de Vries

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Nyck de Vries

Photo by: Paul Foster

The Frenchman dipped into the Rivazza gravel while pursuing Kobayashi, and again exiting the Villeneuve chicane, but managed to get within a second entering the closing stages. 
However, a five-second penalty for overtaking under the safety car meant he needed to both overtake the Toyota and pull out a gap, which proved an insurmountable task.
Campbell, Makowiecki and Michael Christensen secured third ahead of Nielsen, Molina and Fuoco, the latter passing Hartley on the final lap when the Toyota he shared with Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa locked up into the Tamburello chicane.
A late drive-through penalty for a pit infringement ultimately had little bearing on the result for the leading WRT-run BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh of Rene Rast, Robin Frijns and Sheldon van der Linde, who recorded the Bavarian marque's best finish of its return to the WEC so far in sixth. 
After ditching his aged wets, Pier Guidi repassed the third Ferrari of Yifei Ye, which had earlier served a penalty for a full course yellow infringement during Kubica's stint, to finish seventh.
The much-revised Peugeot 9X8 LMH recorded points in ninth on its first appearance, courtesy of the #93 car driven by Nico Muller, Mikkel Jensen and Jean-Eric Vergne, while Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn completed the top 10 in the Chip Ganassi Racing-run Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh.
Alpine's hopes of a strong result were thwarted at the first corner, when Matthieu Vaxiviere clashed with Paul di Resta's Peugeot and the BMW of Marco Wittmann, whose spinning car forced the second Alpine of Charles Milesi to take avoiding action in the gravel.
#36 Alpine Endurance Team Alpine A424: Nicolas Lapierre, Mick Schumacher, Matthieu Vaxiviere, #91 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3: Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring, Richard Lietz

#36 Alpine Endurance Team Alpine A424: Nicolas Lapierre, Mick Schumacher, Matthieu Vaxiviere, #91 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3: Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring, Richard Lietz

Photo by: Emanuele Clivati | AG Photo

Vaxiviere was given a one-minute stop-go penalty for the incident, which followed his damaged car understeering into the barriers on the exit of the Tamburello Chicane and collecting an advertising hoarding.
After the race, both of the Signatech-run Alpines were penalised further as Nicolas Lapierre and Jules Gounon had not completed their minimum driving time. 
Lapierre drove for just 45m38s and his #36 car was thus handed a penalty of nine laps, although only loses one place in the overall classification to 17th, while Gounon on his Hypercar debut replacing the injured Ferdinand Habsburg drove for 55m46s and received a two-lap penalty that drops the #35 entry from 13th to 15th.
Wittmann's car later rejoined after repairs but spun off in the hands of Raffaele Marciello at the treacherous second Rivazza.
Milesi's car also found the gravel a second time later on when Paul-Loup Chatin was caught out at the Acque Minerali, the same spot where Julien Andlauer rotated the Proton Porsche that later retired to bring out another FCY.

BMW scores 1-2 in LMGT3

The WRT team enjoyed a day to remember in the LMGT3 class by recording a 1-2 finish with its BMW M4 GT3s.
Key to its victory was the timing of its first driver changes, as Leung exceeded his minimum bronze time of 1hr45m by just five seconds, while al Harthy completed only 80 seconds more than was necessary.
Polesitter Alexander Malykhin controlled the early phases of the race in his Pure Rxcing Porsche, but crucially had to get back into the car later after ending his double stint just short of the minimum.
Podium GT: #31 Team WRT BMW M4 LMGT3: Darren Leung, Sean Gelael, Augusto Farfus

Podium GT: #31 Team WRT BMW M4 LMGT3: Darren Leung, Sean Gelael, Augusto Farfus

Photo by: Emanuele Clivati | AG Photo

The extra pit visit to cycle back to its silver driver, Sturm, meant he was in turn driving for half an hour longer than WRT's silvers Gelael and Rossi.
When Sturm came in to hand over to Klaus Bachler, who took on wet tyres, the slick-shod BMWs then duelled for the lead between them and Martin was unable to hold off the attentions of Farfus.
Moments after straightlining Tamburello, Martin got sideways exiting Acque Minerali and the Brazilian pounced to take the lead into the Variante Alta chicane.
A drive-through penalty for not respecting VSC procedure ended any hopes of victory for the #46 BMW, but did not cost it third place to the Manthey-run Porsche of Malykhin, Sturm and Bachler.
The AF Corse-run Ferrari 296 of Francois Heriau, Simon Mann and Alessio Rovera finished fourth after a late clash with Heart of Racing's Aston Martin Vantage driven by Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas that resulted in both taking a trip across the gravel entering the Tamburello chicane.

WEC Imola 6 Hours Result

   
1
 - 
4
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Team # Drivers Car Laps Time Interval Pits Retirement Points
1
Toyota Racing HYPERCAR
7 United Kingdom M. Conway Japan K. Kobayashi Netherlands N. de Vries Toyota GR010 - Hybrid 205

-

  7    
2
PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT HYPERCAR
6 France K. Estre Germany A. Lotterer Belgium L. Vanthoor Porsche 963 205

+7.081

7.081

7.081 7    
3
PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT HYPERCAR
5 Australia M. Campbell Denmark M. Christensen France F. Makowiecki Porsche 963 205

+25.626

25.626

18.545 7    
4
FERRARI AF CORSE HYPERCAR
50 Italy A. Fuoco Spain M. Molina Denmark N. Nielsen Ferrari 499P 205

+31.469

31.469

5.843 7    
5
Toyota Racing HYPERCAR
8 Switzerland S. Buemi New Zealand B. Hartley Japan R. Hirakawa Toyota GR010 - Hybrid 205

+33.777

33.777

2.308 7    
6
BMW M Team WRT HYPERCAR
20 South Africa S. Van Der Linde Netherlands R. Frijns Germany R. Rast BMW M Hybrid V8 204

+1 Lap

12.769

1 Lap 8    
7
FERRARI AF CORSE HYPERCAR
51 Italy A. Pier Guidi United Kingdom J. Calado Italy A. Giovinazzi Ferrari 499P 204

+1 Lap

26.891

14.122 8    
8
AF Corse HYPERCAR
83 Poland R. Kubica Israel R. Shwartzman China Y. Yifei Ferrari 499P 204

+1 Lap

28.673

1.782 8    
9
PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES HYPERCAR
93 Denmark M. Jensen Switzerland N. Müller France J. Vergne Peugeot 9X8 2024 203

2 laps

  7    
10
CADILLAC RACING HYPERCAR
2 New Zealand E. Bamber United Kingdom A. Lynn Cadillac V-Series.R 203

+2 Laps

20.774

20.774 8    
11
HERTZ TEAM JOTA HYPERCAR
38 United Kingdom J. Button United Kingdom P. Hanson Denmark O. Rasmussen Porsche 963 203

+2 Laps

54.691

33.917 7    
12
Lamborghini Iron Lynx HYPERCAR
63 Italy M. Bortolotti Switzerland E. Mortara Russian Federation D. Kvyat Lamborghini SC63 203

+2 Laps

1'04.594

9.903 7    
13
Alpine Endurance Team HYPERCAR
35 France P. Chatin France J. Gounon France C. Milesi Alpine A424 201

4 laps

  7    
14
HERTZ TEAM JOTA HYPERCAR
12 United Kingdom W. Stevens United Kingdom C. Ilott France N. Nato Porsche 963 200

5 laps

  8    
15
PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES HYPERCAR
94 United Kingdom P. di Resta France L. Duval Belgium S. Vandoorne Peugeot 9X8 2024 199

6 laps

  8    
16
Alpine Endurance Team HYPERCAR
36 France N. Lapierre Germany M. Schumacher France M. Vaxiviere Alpine A424 199

+6 Laps

11.206

11.206 8    
17
Isotta Fraschini HYPERCAR
11 Canada A. Serravalle
C. Bennett
France J. Vernay
Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 Competizione LMH 191

14 laps

  8    
18
TEAM WRT LMGT3
31
D. Leung
Indonesia S. Gelael Brazil A. Farfus
BMW M4 GT3 187

18 laps

  8    
19
TEAM WRT LMGT3
46 United Kingdom A. Al Harthy Italy V. Rossi Belgium M. Martin BMW M4 GT3 187

+18 Laps

1'41.458

1'41.458 9    
20
Manthey PureRxcing LMGT3
92
A. Malykhin
J. Sturm
Austria K. Bachler
Porsche 911 GT3 R 186

19 laps

  9    
21
Vista AF Corse LMGT3
55 France F. Heriau France S. Mann Italy A. Rovera Ferrari 296 GT3 186

+19 Laps

1'37.562

1'37.562 11    
22
Heart of Racing Team LMGT3
27 United Kingdom I. James Italy D. Mancinelli Spain A. Riberas Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 185

20 laps

  9    
23
United Autosports LMGT3
95 United Kingdom J. Caygill Chile N. Pino Japan M. Sato McLaren 720S GT3 Evo 185

+20 Laps

23.089

23.089 8    
24
TF Sport LMGT3
81 Belgium T. Van Rompuy Portugal R. Andrade Ireland C. Eastwood Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R 185

+20 Laps

27.959

4.870 9    
25
TF Sport LMGT3
82 Japan H. Koizumi
S. Baud
Spain D. Juncadella
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R 185

+20 Laps

46.235

18.276 9    
26
Proton Competition LMGT3
77 United States R. Hardwick Canada Z. Robichon United Kingdom B. Barker Ford Mustang GT3 184

21 laps

  9    
27
D'Station Racing LMGT3
777 France C. Mateu
E. Bastard
Denmark M. Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 184

+21 Laps

55.766

55.766 10    
28
United Autosports LMGT3
59 J. Cottingham N. Costa Switzerland G. Saucy McLaren 720S GT3 Evo 184

+21 Laps

1'05.689

9.923 8    
29
Vista AF Corse LMGT3
54 Switzerland T. Flohr Italy F. Castellacci Italy D. Rigon Ferrari 296 GT3 184

+21 Laps

1'28.990

23.301 9    
30
IRON LYNX LMGT3
60 Italy C. Schiavoni Italy M. Cressoni
F. Perera
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 183

22 laps

  10    
31
AKKODIS ASP Team LMGT3
78
A. Robin
Russian Federation T. Boguslavskiy South Africa K. van der Linde
Lexus RC F GT3 183

+22 Laps

1'24.458

1'24.458 9    
32
AKKODIS ASP Team LMGT3
87 Japan T. Kimura
E. Masson
Argentina J. Lopez
Lexus RC F GT3 182

23 laps

  10    
33
Manthey EMA LMGT3
91
Y. Shahin
M. Schuring
Austria R. Lietz
Porsche 911 GT3 R 171

34 laps

  11    
34
BMW M Team WRT HYPERCAR
15 Belgium D. Vanthoor Italy R. Marciello Germany M. Wittmann BMW M Hybrid V8 163

42 laps

  7    
35
Proton Competition HYPERCAR
99 United Kingdom H. Tincknell Switzerland N. Jani France J. Andlauer Porsche 963 167

37 laps

  7 Retirement  
36
IRON DAMES LMGT3
85 Belgium S. Bovy France D. Pin Denmark M. Gatting Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 33

172 laps

  4 Retirement  
37
Proton Competition LMGT3
88 Italy G. Roda
M. Pedersen
Norway D. Olsen
Ford Mustang GT3 82

123 laps

  10 Retirement  

Watch: BrrrakeF1 - How IMSA use Advanced Data to Enforce the Rules

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