The Toyota Gazoo Racing trio headed home the #50 Ferrari AF Corse crew of Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina. In a thrilling finish, Kobayashi defended a slender lead over Fuoco to the chequered flag and re-joined the 2023 title fight as a result.
The race was effectively reset in the penultimate hour owing to a Safety Car intervention after the Proton Competition Porsche 963 stopped on track. This allowed Fuoco to get to within four seconds of Kobayashi.
Completing the podium was the #93 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 of Jean-Éric Vergne, Paul di Resta and Mikkel Jensen after the strongest run yet for the Peugeot team, exactly a year on from the car’s WEC debut.
#8 Toyota of Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Ryō Hirakawa was knocked out of the podium contention after taking two penalties early on in the race for contacts with the #51 Ferrari and the #777 D’Station LMGTE Am entry. Following the race, the team also received a 50s penalty for exceeding maximum power allocation, which relegated them from fourth to sixth.
CORVETTE CLINCHES AM TITLE
#77 Dempsey Proton Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Christian Ried, Mikkel Pedersen and Julian Andlauer took the first win of the season after executing a stealthy run through the field in the second phase of the race, but it was the #33 Corvette Racing’s trio of Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone and Nicky Catsburg who have been crowned 2023 FIA WEC LMGTE Am champions after finishing in fourth position.
Second was the #60 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GTE car of Alessio Picariello, Matteo Cressoni and Claudio Schiavoni as they accomplished an excellent race from the rear of the class field.
GR Racing took its second consecutive podium position as Ben Barker, Riccardo Pera and Michael Wainwright made it a Porsche 1-3.
Pole-sitting Iron Dames Porsche of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey crossed the line in fifth.
JOTA TRIUMPHS IN LMP2
Jota trio of Pietro Fittipaldi, Oliver Rasmussen and David Heinemeier Hansson was victorious in LMP2 after a close race in the final two hours.
The British-entered Oreca-Gibson with Fittipaldi at the wheel was in a tight battle with the #31 Team WRT of Robin Frijns well into the last hour before Dutchman pitted with a mechanical problem.
This put Fittipaldi in control of the LMP2 race until the chequered flag to take the squad’s first victory of the season.
Second place went to the #36 Alpine ELF Team entry of Charles Milesi, Julien Canal and Matthieu Vaxiviere as they celebrated their best result of 2023.
The #23 United Autosports entry of Oliver Jarvis, Giedo van der Garde and Joshua Pierson had a comfortable lead before the Safety Car period in the fifth hour compromised its strategy. Jarvis was on course for a podium finish before he was overtaken by Louis Deletraz in the pole-sitting #41 Team WRT car in what was an intense battle in the final laps of the race. – www.fia.com