Epic WEC battle ends with Toyota Gazoo Racing taking a 1-2 in Portimao

Epic WEC battle ends with Toyota Gazoo Racing taking a 1-2 in Portimao

Round 2 of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship saw an epic battle for victory in each of the classes, with Toyota Gazoo Racing taking a 1-2 at the head of the 32 car field at the end of the 8 Hours of Portimão.    The #8 Toyota GR010-Hybrid, driven by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima, took a last gasp win after being challenged by the #7 Toyota in the final 15 minutes of the race and a race long challenge by the #36 Alpine Elf Matmut A480-Gibson. 

In LMGTE Pro, Ferrari turned the tables on pole-sitting Porsche to claim a conclusive 1-2 with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi taking maximum race points on Calado’s birthday.

There was also an epic fight in LMP2, with British team JOTA also scoring a 1-2 after a fascinating late race battle between the #38 and #28 Oreca-Gibsons, which saw local favourite, and FIA Formula E Champion, Antonio Felix da Costa take a very popular win alongside Roberto Gonzalez and 2014 World Champion Anthony Davidson.

The LMGTE Am battle saw the #47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari secure a debut WEC victory for the all Italian team of Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto, Antonio Fuoco

The #8 Toyota GR010-Hybrid Hypercar driven at the chequered flag by Sebastien Buemi, the Swiss former World Champion takes victory for Toyota in the 8 Hours of Portimão on Toyota’s 100th International Sportscar race start.

The #8 crew ran an early fuel save strategy which paid dividends at end of race as they were able make it count with one less pit stop than their teammates. This looked set to enable Buemi to lead home the #7 GR010-Hybrid Hypercar driven by Jose-Maria Lopez for final stint.  However, a late Full Course Yellow enabled Lopez to catch Buemi with just 18 minutes of race remaining and Toyota implement race management plan, with Lopez taking the lead. 

However, positions are then swapped again and Buemi is able to lead Lopez home to take victory in Portugal. 

The #36 Alpine ELF Matmut A380-Gibson placed third after taking the fight to Toyota and leading large sections of the race. Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao claim second consecutive podium for Signature run team.   The #709 Glickenhaus Racing 007 LMH took the chequered flag and were classified 4th in the first WEC race for the American team, but they finished well down the overall order after a long stop to repair damage incurred in an accident earlier in the race.

Ferrari secured a 1-2 finish after crucial tyre management plays out in the Italian teams favour.  James Calado celebrated his 32nd birthday with champagne as he and teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari lead majority of race to bounce back from the disappointment of round 1 in Spa last month.

The #52 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Daniel Serra and Miguel Molina took second place to seal the perfect day for the Prancing Horse after starting at the very back of the grid.  The #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre, Neel Jani and Michael Christensen claimed the final spot on the podium 45 seconds behind the lead Ferrari, while the #91 Porsche of. Gimmi Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki finished in fourth position, one lap down.

JOTA took a memorable 1-2 result in Portugal as the #38 Oreca-Gibson of Antonio Felix da Costa, Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez take incredible last gasp victory after a brilliant battle with the #28 JOTA Oreca of Tom Blomqvist, Stoffel Vandoorne and Sean Gelael. 

Blomqvist, who was spun around on the first lap, looked like he would keep da Costa at bay in final stages, but the Portuguese made a stunning move with just five minutes remaining to take his first international race victory on home soil.

The #22 United Autosports USA took the final spot on the podium as Paul di Resta, Phil Hanson and Wayne Boyd finish third.   Pro/Am honours go to the Real Team Racing squad as Esteban Garcia, Norman Nato and Mathias Beche who take seventh in LMP2 class 

The #47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari recorded the first victory in WEC for the Italian squad with a controlled to race by Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto, Antonio Fuoco to head home the #56Team Project 1 Porsche by just eight seconds. 

The race for the class lead became a ‘Battle of the Young Italians’ as Antonio Fuoco defended firmly from Riccardo Pera.  The #54 AF Corse Ferrari of Francesco Castellacci, Thomas Flohr and Giancarlo Fisichella claimed the third position on the podium.

Round 3 of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship will be the 6 Hours of Monza on Sunday 18 July.