The crew of Alonso won the “1000 miles of Sebring”, SMP Racing on the podiumMarch 16, 2019
Toyota pilots Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima scored their first victory from the “24 Hours of Le Mans” in mid-June last year, winning the 1000 miles of Sebring, the sixth stage of the 2018/2019 world championship in endurance racing.
The road to victory for the crew of # 8, which started from pole position, opened at the fifth hour of the marathon, when Jose-Maria Lopez on the sport prototype TS050 Hybrid # 7 collided with a roundabout from the GT category. At that time, the Argentine was behind only a couple of seconds from the lead Buemi, but after an unplanned visit to the pits returned to the track with a two-round lag. In the future, the only problem Alonso and his teammates on the crew was a rainstorm that hit the track in Florida half an hour before the finish. In the most difficult weather conditions, and also at night, who conducted the final stretch of Nakajima’s distance even lost control. But, fortunately for the crew, the Japanese turned around without any consequences, and the final 12 minutes passed under the safety car after Loic Duval’s accident from the TDS Racing team of the LMP2 category. At the finish, the separation of the winners from their partners in Toyota made a circle.
For Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima, this victory was the third in the season after Spa and Le Mans, except for the disqualification at Silverstone. And due to the maximum 32 points for a victory in Sebring instead of the standard 25, their gap in the championship from José Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi is now 15 points.
The podium for the second time in a row after “6:00 pm Shanghai” in November last year won the SMP Racing crew # 11. After the problems of competitors from Rebellion Racing in the final phase of the race, Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Alyoshin and Brandon Hartley climbed to third place and lost 11 laps to the victorious crew of Toyota at the finish, but were ahead of three circles of their closest pursuers. Moreover, these pursuers were the winners of the LMP2 class, Jackie Chan DC Racing drivers Will Stevens, Jordan King, David Hansson, who were confidently leading the whole distance.
Alas, no luck for the second SMP Racing crew, which at the start was the best behind Toyota. In the second hour of the race, Yegor Orujov could not keep the car under the drizzling rain and had an accident, having issued a gathering.
In the GTE Pro category until the rain at the end of the race, everything went to the first BMW victory. Before arriving at the pit lane for rain tires, Alexander Sims was in the lead with a ten-second margin, but due to the slow pit stop he lost all this advantage. As a result, Janmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz came out on the Porsche 911 RSR, who won. Sims and his teammates Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg remained second, while Ford Chip Ganassi pilots Andy Priol, Harry Tinknell and Jonathan Beaumarito took the third step of the podium.
In the semi-amateur GTE Am class, the race was celebrated by Dempsey-Proton Porsche racers Christian Reed, Julien Andlay and Matt Campbell, who were 12 seconds ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Fleur from the Spirit of Race Ferrari team.
The next and penultimate stage of the 2018/2019 superseason will take place on May 3 at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
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