Toyota/Michelin wins Silverstone WEC opener

Toyota Gazoo Racing and Michelin won Great Britain’s 6 Hours of Silverstone for the second time after their maiden victory there together in 2014. First past the flag was the N°8 TS050 Hybrid of Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima, which finished clear of the N°2 (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) and N°1 (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy) Porsches. Michelin won all three of the classes in which it was represented. 


6 Hours of Bahrain (WEC): Audi/Michelin bows out with 1-2 finish

Audi produced a one-two finish in Bahrain to mark its final prototype endurance racing appearance. The race was won by the N°8 R18 (Duval/Di Grassi/Jarvis) ahead of the N°7 sister car (Tréluyer/Lotterer/Fässler). Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb are the 2016 FIA WEC Drivers’ champions, while Ferrari/Michelin won the GT Manufacturers World Cup.


Toyota/Michelin claims Spa 1-2

Toyota Gazoo Racing came first and second at the 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with its N°8 (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) and N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi) Michelin-equipped TS050 Hybrids. There was one-two glory, too, for Ferrari/Michelin with its N°71 and N°51 488 GTEs in LM GTE Pro.

The N°8 and N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrids couldn’t have wished for a better rehearsal for June’s Le Mans 24 Hours than their victory today over the Michelin-shod N°2 (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) and N°1 (Lotterer/Jani/Tandy) Porsche 919 Hybrids at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Running with high-downforce aero packages, the Japanese prototypes dominated round two of the 2017 FIA WEC which took place in relatively mild weather in front of 61,000 spectators. The N°8 car pulled clear of its N°7 sister machine when the latter chose to refuel just before a Full Course Yellow period (FCY) during the fourth hour.

With 1½ hours to go, Brendon Hartley put the N°2 Porsche in front thanks to the team’s management of the FCY period. Its chances were scuppered, however, when it collided with the N°36 Alpine which was being driven at the time by ex-Porsche star Romain Dumas!

The N°8 Toyota recovered top spot with Sébastien Buemi, despite a light shower and a spirited fightback by Kamui Kobayashi in the N°7 car. The two prototypes were split by less than two seconds as they passed the flag after 1,211km of racing.

Toyota Gazoo Racing was running a third car for the very first time and Lapierre/Sarrazin/Kunimoto (N°9) ended up fifth, behind the pole-winning N°1 Porsche, after a ‘straight-on’ at the very first turn.

Before today’s result, Toyota/Michelin’s most recent one-two FIA WEC finish dated back to Shanghai in 2014.

The LM GTE Pro class produced a thrilling scrap between the Michelin-equipped N°71 (Bird/Rigon) and N°51 (Calado/Pier Guidi) Ferrari 488 GTEs which secured first and second places after pulling clear of the N°66 and N°67 Ford GTs early on. Neither the Porsche 911 RSRs nor the Aston Martin Vantages were involved in the battle for first place.

The LMP2 fight was won by the N°26 G-Drive Racing prototype (Rusinov/Thiriet/Lynn) after a splendid fight with the N°31 Vaillante-Rebellion (Canal/Prost/Senna) which lost ground near the end. Third place went to the Silverstone-winning N°38 Oreca-Gibson.

The LM GTE Am spoils went to the N°98 Aston Martin of Lamy/Lauda/Dalla Lana who dominated throughout to beat the N°77 Porsche (2nd) and N°61 Ferrari (3rd).

The next public appearance for the FIA WEC teams will be early June’s official test for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.


MotoGP: a flawless weekend for Viñales at Le Mans

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) produced a grand-slam performance at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France, round five of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship. The Spaniard added pole position and fastest race lap to his third win of the season. Second and third were local star Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). 


Ogier claims fifth Portugal victory

A fifth Rally de Portugal victory for Sébastien Ogier has taken the Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin star’s personal tally to 40 world class wins and level with Markku Alèn as the event’s most successful driver. The Frenchman has also established a new record for the highest number of WRC points scored at this level. He was joined on Sunday’s podium by Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin rivals Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

FIA Formula E

Paris ePrix: Buemi triumphs in French capital

Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) followed up his victory in Monaco last week with another at Saturday’s Paris ePrix, ahead of Lopez and Heidfeld. A mistake by rival Lucas di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport) helped him to comfort his cushion at the top of the provisional Drivers’ standings.


MotoGP: next stop Le Mans, France

Round five of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, and the second to take place on European soil, is this weekend’s HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France at Le Mans-Bugatti. 

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