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Toyota lead one-two into last four hours at Le Mans

22 August 2021 - 13:05 By Reuters
The #07 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez in action during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The #07 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez in action during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Image: James Moy Photography/Getty Images

Toyota were heading for a fourth successive overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday with their hybrid Hypercars running first and second with four hours of the race remaining.

The number seven GR010 car shared by Britain's Mike Conway, Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Argentine Jose Maria Lopez was circulating a lap ahead of the Japanese manufacturer's eight car.

The second-placed Toyota — with Swiss Sebastien Buemi, Japan's Kazuki Nakajima and New Zealander Brendon Hartley — had earlier reported vibrations and refuelling issues that forced shorter stints.

The Alpine A480-Gibson driven by Brazilian Andre Negrao and French pair Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere was in third place but four laps down.

The number eight car has won the Le Mans overall title for the past three years with the drivers of the seven suffering repeated heartbreak.

Kobayashi has now qualified fastest in four of the last five editions but he and his team mates, the reigning world endurance champions, have yet to win the greatest race on the sports car calendar.

Last year the crew lost half an hour in the garage with a turbo problem, that could have proved terminal just after the halfway mark, and finished third.

In 2019 the number seven car led most of the way but had to stop twice at the end of the race, once for a puncture and then because of a wrong tyre change during the initial stop which dropped it to second place.

This year's Le Mans is the 89th edition of the race and the first of the new Hypercar era.


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