TOYOTA GAZOO Racing took its second consecutive victory of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season with a one-two in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Third home was the Porsche 919 of Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) who initially lost time due to a slow puncture.
Silverstone winners Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, in the #8 TS050 HYBRID, again took top step of the podium to extend their lead in the drivers’ World Championship to 17 points.
In a dramatic race, the #7 of Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi finished just 1.992secs behind in second place, for the team’s first one-two since Shanghai in 2014. That moves TOYOTA into the lead of the manufacturers’ World Championship, by 8.5 points from Porsche.
“My stint started well,” commented Bamber. “I came out right behind the Toyota and then was battling with number 8 but then unfortunately I picked up a slow puncture. The pace was good afterwards again and I closed the gap to the front a little but to fight back from over 40 seconds is hard.”
“The Toyotas were quick at the start and I knew I was in for a double stint,” commented Hartley. “With the warmer ambient temperatures, the car’s balance was quite different from the previous days. But I had a strong end to the opening stint and overtook André just before the pit-stops.
“The sister car went onto a different strategy while we managed to keep close to the 8 Toyota. Our car was unlucky when Earl picked up a puncture which put us behind and off strategy. I was in the car for the last couple of hours. The team did a great job and our car was coming on really strong towards the finish. It’s another podium, not the step we wanted to stand on, but we take confidence heading to Le Mans.“
Teams now plan for Le Mans 24 Hours on 17-18 June but before that, all teams participate in the official Le Mans test day on 4 June.