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Spa WEC: Toyota seals one-two finish in thrilling finale

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Spa WEC: Toyota seals one-two finish in thrilling finale
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May 6, 2017, 6:44 PM

Toyota secured a one-two finish in the WEC 6 Hours of Spa, with the #8 crew of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson taking the win by less than two seconds over the #7 car.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy, #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet, Alex Lynn
#31 Vaillante Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Julien Canal, Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost
#38 DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent
#71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: Davide Rigon, Sam Bird
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi
#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Olivier Pla, Stefan Mücke, Billy Johnson
#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage: Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda

It was the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi that led for much of the distance at the Belgian track, but two Full Course Yellows played into the hands of the sister #8 car.

The first of these came when the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche came to a halt on the start/finish straight just after half-distance, which led to the #7 Toyota pitting in anticipation of a caution period.

The second-placed #8 car stayed out an extra lap, and as the FCY only took effect just before Davidson pitted, a deficit of some 25 seconds became an advantage of 15 when Nakajima rejoined.

Conway was rapidly closing on Nakajima when a crash for Francois Perrodo in the #28 TDS Racing LMP2 car at Stavelot at the start of the fifth hour brought out the FCY again.

The #7 car had just pitted at this time, effectively giving the #8 crew a free stop and a lead of more than 40 seconds, but this was steadily whittled away in the final part of the race as spots of rain hit the track.

Kobayashi had brought down the gap to Buemi in the lead Toyota to just two seconds at the start of the final lap, but was baulked by traffic as he strove to close down the Swiss driver.

Buemi held on to win by just 1.992s over Kobayashi at the finish.

Porsche took third and fourth places with its pair of low-downforce configuration 919 Hybrids, with the #2 car of Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard earning the final podium spot despite suffering an early puncture and needing a late change of front bodywork.

Hartley had passed Conway for second place in the penultimate hour, but lost the place as a result of a clash with Romain Dumas in the #36 Signatech Alpine at the Bus Stop chicane, which left a hole in the front-left corner of Hartley's car.

Armed with fresh front bodywork, the New Zealander ended up 35 seconds adrift of the leaders.

The polesitting #1 car of Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Nick Tandy lacked the speed of its sister entry and ended up a minute and 25 seconds behind the winners at the chequered flag.

Toyota's low-downforce #9 car, shared by Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Lapierre and WEC debutant Yuji Kunimoto, never featured in the lead fight and finished a lapped fifth.

The sole privateer LMP1 car, the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01, enjoyed a clean run to finish sixth overall, 12 laps down.

G-Drive scoops LMP2 honours

In the LMP2 class, the #26 G-Drive trio of Alex Lynn, Pierre Thiriet and Roman Rusinov followed up on their pole position by taking a first victory of the season.

The contest for class honours had developed into a two-horse race between the TDS-run G-Drive Oreca and the #31 Rebellion car of Bruno Senna, Julien Canal and Nicolas Prost.

But Rebellion's hopes were dashed when they lost a minute repairing a loose telemetry sensor with a little over an hour to go, relegating the #31 car to third.

However, Senna was able to pass the #38 JOTA Sport-run DC Racing Oreca of Silverstone winners Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent to take back second in the final half-hour.

JOTA's #37 car had been in contention in the early stages, with Alex Brundle leading at one point, but was ruled out of contention when Tristan Gommendy spun the car at Eau Rouge and hit the barriers, damaging the rear bodywork.

Ferrari takes dominant 1-2 in GTE

Ferrari dominated the GTE Pro ranks with its pair of AF Corse-run 488 GTEs, which were locked in a fierce scrap for the win virtually throughout the entire race.

Both the #51 and #71 cars swapped positions on numerous occasions as they fought over the class lead - with Sam Bird even forcing Alessandro Pier Guidi off track at Rivage at one stage.

But the #71 car was able to pull away decisively from the #51 in the final hour, Bird and Davide Rigon beating James Calado and Pier Guidi by a lap at the finish.

The two Ford GTs finished third and fourth, the #66 car of Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson completing the podium - 30 seconds behind the second Ferrari.

Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani were delayed by a fuel priming problem that caused the sister #67 machine to come to a brief halt after its first stop, forcing the crew to fight their way back past the two Porsche 911 RSRs to reach fourth.

In GTE Am, the #98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana cruised to a dominant victory, beating the #77 Proton Porsche by over 30 seconds.

Race results:

Pos.#DriversCarClassGap
1 8 united_kingdom Anthony Davidson 
japan Kazuki Nakajima 
switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 173 laps
2 7 japan Kamui Kobayashi 
united_kingdom Mike Conway 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1.992
3 2 germany Timo Bernhard 
new_zealand Brendon Hartley 
new_zealand Earl Bamber 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 35.283
4 1 germany Andre Lotterer 
switzerland Neel Jani 
united_kingdom Nick Tandy 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 1'25.438
5 9 france Stéphane Sarrazin 
france Nicolas Lapierre 
japan Yuji Kunimoto 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 2 laps
6 4 united_kingdom Oliver Webb 
austria Dominik Kraihamer 
united_kingdom James Rossiter 
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 12 laps
7 26 russia Roman Rusinov 
france  Pierre Thiriet 
united_kingdom Alex Lynn 
Oreca 07 LMP2 13 laps
8 31 brazil Bruno Senna 
france Julien Canal 
france Nicolas Prost 
Oreca 07 LMP2 13 laps
9 38 united_kingdom Oliver Jarvis 
china Ho-Pin Tung 
france Thomas Laurent 
Oreca 07 LMP2 13 laps
10 13 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 
denmark David Heinemeier Hansson 
switzerland Mathias Beche 
Oreca 07 LMP2 14 laps
11 36 france Romain Dumas 
united_states Gustavo Menezes 
united_kingdom Matt Rao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 14 laps
12 35 france Nelson Panciatici 
france Pierre Ragues 
brazil Andre Negrao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 15 laps
13 24 france Jean-Eric Vergne 
switzerland Jonathan Hirschi 
thailand Tor Graves 
Oreca 07 LMP2 15 laps
14 25 russia Vitaly Petrov 
switzerland Simon Trummer 
mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 15 laps
15 28 france François Perrodo 
france Emmanuel Collard 
france Matthieu Vaxivière 
Oreca 07 LMP2 15 laps
16 37 china David Cheng 
france Tristan Gommendy 
united_kingdom Alex Brundle 
Oreca 07 LMP2 17 laps
17 71 united_kingdom Sam Bird 
italy Davide Rigon 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 22 laps
18 51 united_kingdom James Calado 
italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 23 laps
19 66 germany Stefan Mücke 
france Olivier Pla 
united_states Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 23 laps
20 67 brazil Pipo Derani 
united_kingdom Harry Tincknell 
guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 23 laps
21 91 austria Richard Lietz 
france Frédéric Makowiecki 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 24 laps
22 92 denmark Michael Christensen 
france Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 24 laps
23 97 united_kingdom Darren Turner 
united_kingdom Jonathan Adam 
brazil Daniel Serra 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 25 laps
24 95 denmark Marco Sorensen 
denmark Nicki Thiim 
new_zealand Richie Stanaway 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 25 laps
25 98 portugal Pedro Lamy 
canada Paul Dalla Lana 
austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 27 laps
26 77 germany Christian Ried 
italy Matteo Cairoli 
germany Marvin Dienst 
Porsche 911 RSR (991) LMGTE AM 27 laps
27 61 ireland Matt Griffin 
singapore Mok Weng Sun 
japan Keita Sawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 28 laps
28 54 italy Francesco Castellacci 
spain Miguel Molina 
switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 29 laps
Ret 34 india Karun Chandhok 
united_kingdom Nigel Moore 
united_kingdom  Philip Hanson 
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 22 laps
Ret 86 united_kingdom Michael Wainwright 
united_kingdom Ben Barker 
australia Nick Foster Jr. 
Porsche 911 RSR (991) LMGTE AM 97 laps
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