Porsche took advantage of the debacle of Toyota, its great rival in the Endurance World Cup, to prevail for the third consecutive season at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The trinomial made up of the German Timo Bernhard and the New Zealanders Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, aboard a Porsche 919 Hybrid, took the lead just an hour after the closing of the race and took the victory in the strenuous competition.
"It's a dream come true," Bernhard said just after the victory. “Le Mans may be the most attractive race, but also the cruellest. You can never predict it. "
And reason is not lacking. The number 2 Porsche had problems at the start of the race and had given up 18 laps from the lead after spending almost two hours in the pits.
Even so, he took advantage of the Toyota team's abandonments overnight and the arrest of the number 1 Porsche of the Swiss Neel Jani, the British Nick Tandy and the German André Lotterer with less than four hours remaining and he was on his way to victory.
After more than 360 laps and thousands of kilometers, Toyota once again felt the dark side of classic competition, as it had last year.
Around midnight, two of the three cars of the Japanese brand suffered problems that forced them to abandon. One of the cars was on track to win and the other was with serious chances of victory, well ahead of the triumph that celebrated the victory.
The first to defect was the car of the Japanese Kamui Kobayashi, the British Mike Conway and the French Stephane Sarrazin, who suffered the clutch breakage when he was comfortable leader. Shortly after, the trio formed by the Argentine José María López, the Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre and the Japanese Yuji Kunimoto defected due to a crash when the Frenchman was behind the wheel.
For the German brand it is the 19th triumph in the traditional event, since its first victory in 1970, which constitutes a record for the race.
In second place finished the Oreca 07-Gibson driven by the Dutchman of Chinese origin Ho-Pin Tung, the Frenchman Thomas Laurent and the British Oliver Jarvis, in a car of the actor Jackie Chan's team. Of a lower category, Chan's car was just over an hour from completing a real bump.
One of the curiosities of the test was at the start, when the nine boss of Formula 1, the American Chase Carey, gave the starting signal.
|Date||Grand Prix||Pole position||Lap record||Winner||Winning team|
|1||Australia||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes|
|2||Bahrain||Charles Leclerc||Charles Leclerc||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|3||China||Valtteri Bottas||Pierre Gasly||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|4||Azerbaiyán||Valtteri Bottas||Charles Leclerc||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes|
|5||Spain||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|6||Monaco||Lewis Hamilton||Pierre Gasly||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|7||Canada||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|8||France||Lewis Hamilton||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|9||Austria||Charles Leclerc||Max Verstappen||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|10||Britain||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|11||Germany||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Max Verstappen||Red Bull|
|12||Hungary||Max Verstappen||Max Verstappen||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|