Porsche Wins Le Man As Toyota Stalls On Last Lap

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 19 2016
The No. 2 Porsche 919 won Le Mans Sunday when the race-dominating Toyota slowed to a stop in the final minutes of the 24-hour race.

The No. 2 Porsche 919 won Le Mans Sunday when the race-dominating Toyota slowed to a stop in the final minutes of the 24-hour race.


The No. 2 Porsche 919 hybrid claimed the overall victory in the 24 of Le Mans Sunday when the race-dominating No. 5 Toyota TS050 suffered engine failure on the final lap of after 383 flawless laps in the race.

With Kazuki Nakajima at the wheel on the final stint and headed for what appeared the sure Le Mans logovictory, the Toyota began to slow with five minutes remaining. With just under three minutes to go, Hakajima’s car came to a complete stop.

Shortly afterward, the Porsche, with Neel Jani at the wheel, zipped past to take the lead and then the win.

Team members for Toyota, seeking to secure the first Le Mans victory for a Japanese marque since 1991 when a Mazda 787B claimed the overall championship, stood in shocked silence as the clock wound down to zero.

Over in the Porsche garage, team members of that marque also stood with hands over their mouths in shock.

“I feel very sorry for them (Toyota), I have to admit,” Jani said. “But for us, unbelievable.”

Co-driving the winning Porsche were Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Lieb, who collected his first overall win at Le Mans, said. “We raced so hard in the night and the day against the Toyota boys and they deserved to win this race as well, I mean, it’s crazy. To win the race on the last lap. It’s just unbelievable.”

The victory was Porsche’s 18th at Le Mans.

“For sure we feel sorry for Toyota,” Dumas said. “It was a great race. But of course if you get the chance to win Le Mans, you won’t say no thank you. It’s impossible to realize right now what just happened. This year, the lap times were a bit slower due to the regulation changes.”

The crippled Toyota, which was co-driven by Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson, finished second.

Stephane Sarrazin finished third in the No. 6 Toyota hybrid.

Fourth and fifth were the No. 8 and No. 7 Audi Sport Team Joest R18s.

The 2015 championship-winning No. 1 Porsche 919 finished 14th after running into mechanical problems early in the race.

Ford GTs dominated the GTE Pro series as the Chip Ganassi-fielded cars finished first, third and fourth.

The class-winning Ford was driven by Dirk Muller on the final stint. He shared the ride with Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais, who is a native of the town of Le Mans.

“You know, I’m just lucky to have great people to work with and work for,” Ganassi said. “Representing Ford 50 years after their historic win here, and now to come back with a great team of people and great partners, it’s great. I want to say thanks to my team, everybody that’s involved with this deal from head to toe, it’s incredible. This is right up there with all our wins. The race I always want to win is the next one, but this one is going to go in the books as a crowning jewel.”

Runner-up was the No. 20 Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione, driven over the final stint by Giancarlo Fisichella.

IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon drove the final stint in the No. 69 Ford GT that finished third. Co-driving were Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook.

Claiming the LMP2 class was the No. 36 Alpine Nissan.

In GTE Am, the No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia claimed the victory.

The first hour of the race was run under yellow-flag conditions as a heavy rain shower swamped the track.

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 19 2016
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