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24H Le Mans

Porsche Steals 24H Le Mans Victory as Toyota Fails at Finish

Porsche steals Le Mans victory after last-lap failure for Toyota…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans after the leading No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid came to a halt on the pit straight heading on to the final lap, allowing Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas to take Porsche’s second consecutive victory in dramatic fashion.

It came in one of the most thrilling, race-long battles in recent history, which saw Toyota go head-to-head with Porsche, and lead for most of the race until Kazuki Nakajima lost power with just moments remaining.

Nakajima initially stopped just past the start/finish line but eventually rejoined to complete the final lap, crossing the line second.

However, as his 12-minute final lap was too slow, the No. 6 Toyota was not classified at the end, promoting the sister No. 6 car to second and the No. 8 Audi R18 to third at the end.

Despite the No. 5 Toyota of Nakajima and co-drivers Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Bueumi not relinquishing the lead for around four hours towards the end, the trio enjoyed a race-long fight with the No. 2 Porsche, as well as the No. 6 Toyota.

Jani led the early stages of the race, which started under the safety car due to heavy rain, before Mike Conway put the No. 6 Toyota out front, and held a slight advantage through the night.

However, by sunrise, the No. 5 Toyota was able to take the challenge to the No. 2 Porsche and the sister Toyota in what became an enthralling three-way fight for top honors.

Davidson made the important pass around the No. 2 Porsche of Jani with 4 hours and 4 minutes remaining and held a narrow gap to what appeared to be a clear victory for Toyota Gazoo Racing.

It would have been the first Le Mans wins for 2014 FIA World Endurance Champions Davidson and Buemi, as well as Nakajima, who would have been only the third Japanese driver to claim overall honors.

However, the devastating fortunes for the Toyota handed the win to Jani’s Porsche.

It marked Porsche’s record 18th overall Le Mans victory and the second for Frenchman Dumas, after his win in 2010 with Audi. Both Jani and Lieb scored their first Le Mans crown.

The No. 6 Toyota of Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi thus inherited second place, three laps behind the winners, after their bid for victory unraveled in the closing hours.

A spin by Kobayashi, while running third, led to a trip to the garage with less than three hours to go, and put them out of contention, although able to retain its position.

The No. 8 Audi of Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval completed the podium in third, after having been unable to match the pace of the Toyotas and Porsche throughout the race.

It kept Audi’s record of at least one car scoring a podium finish since its Le Mans debut in 1999 intact.

Battling brake issues, the No. 8 Audi had to make a lengthy stop to replace its right-hand quarter suspension with four hours to go and finished a distant 9 laps behind the winners.

The No. 7 Audi R18 Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler-driven entry lost six laps early due to a turbo failure, which was followed by multiple trips to the garage. They finished fourth.

Defending World Champions Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard were knocked out of contention in the 9th hour when the No. 1 Porsche replaced its water pump after battling temperature issues.

The car finished 13th overall and fifth in class, benefiting by attrition from all three of the LMP1 privateer entries.

The No. 12 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One AER of Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Nelson Piquet Jr. claimed privateer honors, finishing 29th overall.

It came after battling an early race misfire, electronics issues, as well as two clutch changes over the course of the race.

Rebellion’s No. 13 entry, which claimed overall podium finishes in the opening two WEC races, ran as high as 5th before stopping on track in the 14th hour with issues.

It was classified second, with the No. 4 ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER the only LMP1 retirement after suffering a fire on Sunday morning.

Jake Kilshaw and James Newbold contributed to this report.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Nuno

    June 19, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Even my cousin that has never watched a 24H lemans is feeling sad for toyota geez
    Thats worst than bad luck for real

  2. StueyB83

    June 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

    The jinx.. Poor Toyota cannot get a break..

    • 7D3

      June 19, 2016 at 9:13 am

      I agree, This race was Toyota to win, all that leading and then they just lost it,

      Unbelievable, Unbelievable!!

      • Nick

        June 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm

        Like John Hindbaugh would say, “my goodness me!”

    • Brandon

      June 20, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      aha Break

  3. Helmut

    June 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Maybe they went out of fuel.

    • susafan

      June 19, 2016 at 9:17 am

      The german commentator got a sms from the Toyota box: “It’s broke”

  4. Ernie2492

    June 19, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Looks like we’ll not see Toyota in the next year Le Mans..

    • P

      June 19, 2016 at 9:40 am

      What’s that suppose to mean.

      Your Harsh Man, Harsh.

      • Ernie2492

        June 20, 2016 at 6:03 am

        I’m upset too. And that’s what I’m worried about..

    • FlyingLobster27

      June 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Nah, TS0x0s work in two-year cycles. That’s as deterministic as Toyota not winning races. I’m gutted for them, it’s 25 years of hurt and counting…
      I take nothing away from the #2 though, they had the pace to win. The drivers in #1 can certainly hear the team orders for the rest of the season!

      • PhilH

        June 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm

        2017 & 2018 cars are currently being designed according to Toyota. They’ll come back stronger.

    • Brandon

      June 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Yeah in formula one

  5. vanillachinchilla

    June 19, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I’m gutted

  6. Steven

    June 19, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Totally gutted for Toyota. They definitely deserved the win.

  7. Jack

    June 19, 2016 at 9:32 am

    It’s never over till it’s over

    • NaBUru38

      June 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      To finish first, you must first finish.

  8. TC

    June 19, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Gutted for Toyota and the guys who put these cars together.
    As usual, Faux Sports couldn’t even stick around for the podium. Thank goodness for the WEC app.

    • Helmut

      June 19, 2016 at 9:49 am

      There were several streams on Youtube actually, streaming the official stream 😉

      • TC

        June 19, 2016 at 9:57 am

        Helmut, I do know there were a couple more available through Youtube, and I was notified that I could get it through a LeMans (or Le Mans live) website also.

        • Helmut

          June 19, 2016 at 10:17 am

          I’m no fan of ACO’s policy with regard to the stream/the app, but it makes sense. And it’s not that expensive & you can watch the races a secon time for some time. At least this was the case previously.

  9. Overtake24

    June 19, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Well good thing I had fs2 lol. What a joke. They couldn’t even stay on for another 15 min or so for podium. Just had to switch off exactly as scheduled to go to a replay of NHRA qualfying.

  10. Carlos

    June 19, 2016 at 10:48 am

    HighTech Sabotage

  11. Greg barrett

    June 19, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Since fox sports doesn’t appreciate sports car fans I missed the finish. F fox sports

    • Dino

      June 19, 2016 at 11:56 am

      They are terrible as for what channel is the race going to be on good commentators but the back and forth is not acceptable

  12. Alan Wooding

    June 19, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Congratulations to the Eurosport commentators and the TVs channel for playing out the whole race, the build up and post race celebrations. However I feel gutted for the Toyota team – and to have your second placed car disqualified was a real kick in the teeth. But at least Audi managed to make it three different maques on the podium! Sadly the post race arguments tended to spoil the whole affair – but thank goodness it was far better than that Baku Grand Prix!

  13. Brad

    June 19, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the greatest race in the world!

  14. Chperez

    June 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    It’s an endurance race. Porsche endured, Toyota didn’t. The one who endures deserves the win.

  15. Bjones

    June 20, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Coverage from FOX was disgusting, even when it was on they would talk about anything but what was going on. I guess I am used to the European announcers, Thanks for WEC streaming and others. As for Toyota’s misfortune, do not feel sorry for Toyota but the crew and drivers ,talking about being punched in the gut.

  16. Tim

    June 20, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    To list the #5 car as unclassified is ridiculous! The La Mans officials really need to change the rules. What they are trying to tell you is that a car that breaks down at the 22 hour mark and takes an hour and 55 minutes to make repairs and then goes out and runs the last lap under 6 minutes deserves to finish higher than a car that breaks down on the last lap but doesn’t have time to make any repairs and thereby can’t finish the last lap under 6 minutes – stupid rules and officials!

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