FIA WEC

Le Mans 2017: Toyota/Michelin grabs history-making pole!

The final evening of Le Mans qualifying turned out to be a landmark occasion with drivers setting new qualifying records up and down the classes. Toyota/Michelin’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 TS050-Hybrid, Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin) stunned his rivals early on with a 3m14.791. That not only took the wind out of Porsche’s sails but also goes down as the fastest ever lap in Le Mans history. There were record performances, too, in LMP2 (N°26 Oreca), LM GTE Pro (N°97 Aston Martin) and LM GTE Am (N°50 Chevrolet/Michelin).

FIA WEC

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota/Michelin dominates Test Day

The top three places at Sunday’s official pre-Le Mans Test Day were monopolised by Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin prototypes. Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 Toyota) bettered the 2016 pole-winning time, while Michelin runners also dominated the LM GTE Pro class with Corvette and Porsche.

FIA WEC

6 Hours of Bahrain (WEC): titles to settle and farewells to bid

The last round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship will settle the LM P1 Drivers’ championship, as well as all this season’s GT titles. It will also be Audi’s swansong appearance in prototype racing.

The 2016 6 Hours of Bahrain will be Audi’s 186th and last prototype endurance race. To date, the German make has notched up no fewer than 106 victories in the discipline, all with Michelin. The race’s entry for the Sakhir fixture features two Audi R18s, for Tréluyer/Fässler/Lotterer (N°7) and Duval/di Grassi/Jarvis (N°8).

They will face opposition from Porsche which has already secured the Manufacturers’ crown. Only the Drivers’ title has yet to be settled between the trio in command of the N°2 Porsche 919 Hybrid/Michelin (Dumas/Lieb/Jani, who have led since the season’s curtain raiser at Silverstone) and the crew of the N°6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin (Sarrazin/Conway/Kobayashi). The gap stands at 17 points and the Japanese team boasts two previous Bahrain wins.

Both Porsche Team and Toyota Gazoo Racing will be able to count on the assistance of their second cars (N°1 Porsche/Michelin, Hartley/Webber/Bernhard / N°5 Toyota/Michelin, Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima) when they finalise their respective race strategies for Saturday.

All the LM GTE trophies remain to be attributed, too. In the chase for this year’s GT Drivers’ honours, Marco Sorensen and Nicky Thiim (Aston Martin) are 12 points clear of Rigon and Bird (Ferrari/Michelin), with Ford/Michelin’s Pla/Mücke a further nine points short. In the Manufacturers’ battle, Ferrari leads by 10 points over Aston Martin whose N°95 car tops the Teams’ classification, two points ahead of the N°67 Ford/Michelin. In LM GTE Am, the N°83 Ferrari/Michelin of Perrodo/Collard/Aguas needs a single point to secure the top prize.

The season’s final clash will start at 4pm local time and finish after sunset. Sakhir (5.412km) is a unique circuit and an ‘extreme’ challenge – a little like Sebring – with high temperatures and low grip due to sand blown onto the track. It is also hard on the brakes, which can have a knock-on effect on tyres. 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Rossi returns to winning ways at Assen

Sunday’s Motul Assen TT, round eight of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, was won by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Second and third were fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci (Octo Prama Racing) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). 

24H du Mans

Le Mans 2017: Michelin’s 20th Le Mans consecutive victory in numbers

Michelin won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the 20th straight year and for the third year in a row in association with Porsche after posting the fastest ever lap of the French circuit with Toyota. 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ for the Dutch GP

Assen is the only circuit to have been visited by the MotoGPTM World Championship every season since 1949. The Motul TT Assen is round eight of the 2017 calendar. 

24H du Mans

Porsche LMP Team hands Michelin its 20th straight Le Mans win!

The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours saw Michelin extend its uninterrupted winning record in La Sarthe to 20 outright victories since 1998. It was assisted in its quest by the dogged determination of the N°2 Porsche crew (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) who fought back from an early technical issue to scoop the coveted trophy with an hour to go. Along with the N°8 Toyota, which finished back in ninth spot, the German machine was one of only two LMP1-H prototypes to reach the flag after disaster struck the class’s other three factory entries. Michelin’s successful weekend was compounded by a one-two-three finish in LM GTE Am in association with Ferrari, plus a double podium in LM GTE Pro.

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