24H du Mans

Toyota/Michelin tastes Le Mans glory at last!

Toyota will be partying hard tonight after winning the famous Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since its debut attempt at the world famous race in 1985. This time around, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and the team’s star recruit Fernando Alonso delivered the necessary speed and reliability in their N°8 TS050-Hybrid/Michelin to spearhead a one-two finish for the Japanese carmaker, ahead of the N°7 sister car (+2 laps). Porsche/Michelin celebrated no-nonsense wins in LM GTE Pro and Am, while G-Drive Racing was unassailable in LMP2 with the N°26 Oreca07. True to its ‘Winning performance to the line’ claim, Michelin secured its 21st straight Le Mans success.

24H du Mans

H-7: Toyota still on target for Le Mans glory

The two Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050-Hybrids are running smoothly at the top of the order at Le Mans after 17 hours, with the N°8 car of Alonso/Buemi/Nakajima currently in front. The Japanese team has been running a quadruple stint strategy since the start. Porsche GT Team/Michelin’s N°92 and N°91 911 RSRs continue to set the pace in LM GTE Pro, and the German make leads the Am class, too. The N°26 G-Drive Oreca07 continues to stand out as the car to beat in LMP2. 

24H du Mans

Le Mans 24 Hours: provisional pole for Toyota/Michelin

For the second year running, Toyota/Michelin topped the time sheet after the first of Le Mans week’s three qualifying sessions. Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima posted the evening’s fastest time (3m17.270s) shortly after the start of the session to steal an early advantage over team-mate Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 Toyota). Porsche/Michelin dominated the order in both LM GTE Pro and Am with the N°91 and N°88 911 RSRs respectively, while the N°48 Idec Sport prototype made it a Michelin grand slam in the four classes by claiming LMP2’s overnight pole. New lap records were posted in all the classes except LMP1.

The first qualifying session ahead of the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours turned out to be a relatively studious affair once the early attempts to secure overnight pole ended.

The two Toyota hybrid prototypes both posted their quickest times of the session on their second flying laps and, after establishing a safety margin of more than two seconds over the best-placed non-hybrid LMP1s, the Japanese team switched its focus to preparing for the weekend’s race.

The driver making the headlines in Japan’s newspapers tomorrow morning will be Kazuki Nakajima whose time of 3m17.270s outpaced team-mate Kobayashi’s best attempt by 0.107s. That said, tonight’s benchmark is more than two seconds short of the latter’s record-breaking pole-winning time of 2017, which suggests that Toyota Gazoo Racing wasn’t pushed to its limits in the two-hour session.

The N°17 SMP Racing (+2.213s) and N°1 Rebellion Racing (+2.392s) non-hybrid LMP1 prototypes figure on the provisional second row.

Paul-Loup Chatin praised his Michelin tyres after putting his Idec Sport-run Oreca07-Gibson at the top of the LMP2 timesheets, although TDS Racing’s second-placed similar N°28 car was less than three-tenths behind at the chequered flag.

It was an all-Porsche/Michelin affair in both LM GTE classes as the German cars monopolised the top two slots in the Pro order and the top three places in Am.

Giancarlo Bruno catapulted the N°91 911 RSR to the top of the Pro classification with a stunning drive on his second lap but careered off into the gravel at the Dunlop chicane at the start of his third flyer. Third and fourth in the Pro battle were the N°66 and N°68 Ford GTs, with the N°51 Ferrari rounding out the top five.

As in the earlier free practice session, the N°88 and N°77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsches emerged as the cars to beat in LM GTE Am, with Ferrari positioned as the German make’s most threatening rival in fourth spot.

The fight for positions on Saturday afternoon’s grid will continue with Q2 (7pm local time) and Q3 (10pm) on Thursday. The weather forecasters are predicting a rainy evening, however, which means the start order may well have been settled by tonight’s times.

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MotoGP: Lorenzo claims Red Bull Ring spoils for Ducati/Michelin

The Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich – Round 11 of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship – saw Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team/Michelin) emerge on top after a tremendous scrap with Marc Marquez (2nd, Repsol Honda Team/Michelin) to collect his third victory of the season at Austria’s Red Bull Ring. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team/Michelin) was third.

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MotoGP™: Dovizioso heads Ducati Team/Michelin 1-2 finish at Brno

The Monster Energy Grand Prix České Republiky, Round 10 of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship, was won by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team/Michelin). The pole-winner was joined on the podium at Brno, Czech Republic, by team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and the championship pace-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team/Michelin). 

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