Lopez "cried all the way back to the pits" after puncture

Toyota LMP1 driver Jose Maria Lopez says the puncture that cost him and his teammates in the #7 car a probable Le Mans 24 Hours victory made him "cry all the way back to the pits”.

Lopez "cried all the way back to the pits" after puncture

Lopez held a comfortable lead in the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid he shares with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi approaching the final hour when he picked up the puncture, after which he pitted.

But a sensor issue prompted Toyota to change the right-front tyre instead of the right-rear during that stop, meaning Lopez had to nurse the car back to the pits for a second time - a delay that allowed the sister #8 car of Kazuki Nakajima that went on to win the race to move into the lead.

Asked by Motorsport.com how he had felt on his slow lap, Lopez said: "I cannot describe it. I cried all the way back to the pits - it's so painful, it's so painful, but it's like this."

Lopez lost less time before his first visit to the pits because the pressure in the punctured tyre had not decreased dramatically.

But it fell below 0.5bar on Lopez’s second outlap, which forced him to drive at a slower speed to prevent the tyre from delaminating.

Lopez explained that he had been told by the team as he left the pits the sensor would be reset, but that he realised “a few metres” after exiting the pitlane that he still had a puncture.

"We left a new set of tyres for this stint because we wanted to minimise the chances of that [a puncture] happening,” he said. “It's really strange, because it's the last few stages, you're not taking any kerbs, you try to do everything perfectly.

“[After] half of the lap, I saw the alarm. It wasn't too bad, because it [the pressure] didn't go too low so I could still go about 200km/h, so that's why I didn't lose much.

“The problem is that when I exited again with a puncture it was too low, and I was risking too much to blow the tyre up and lose everything so I had to go back to the pit at no more than 50km/h."

Read Also:

shares
comments
Toyota explains why it didn't change all #7 car's tyres

Previous article

Toyota explains why it didn't change all #7 car's tyres

Next article

Alonso says #8 Toyota crew has to "enjoy" luck

Alonso says #8 Toyota crew has to "enjoy" luck
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021