No. 7 Toyota wins Hypercar battle after action-packed Monza
The No.7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid driven by Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi has won the WEC 6 Hours of Monza after a dramatic race which saw a close battle between Toyota Gazoo Racing and Alpine Elf Matmut in the event’s closing stages.
It marks the first victory of the season for the reigning World Champions in the No. 7 car, but the third win in a row in 2021 for Toyota Gazoo Racing.
The all-new Toyota Hypercar led for the majority of the race after starting from pole position but a puncture and a technical issue gave Alpine a last minute chance to seize the victory. WEC newcomers Glickenhaus Racing were also leading the race for a short period of time in the race’s fifth hour.
However, the No. 709 Glickenhaus 007 Hypercar had to pit from the lead with brake issues which saw the American team drop four laps and knocked the squad out of winning contention.
In the end, it was Alpine Elf Matmut and its trio of drivers - Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Matthieu Vaxiviere – who secured the runners-up spot. The French squad’s chances of a debut WEC victory hindered when a Full Course Yellow with 35 minutes left on the clock meant the No. 7 Toyota could allow Conway to refuel essentially allowing the Briton a free pit stop.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s No. 8 car driven by Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi ended the race more than 40 laps behind and fourth in the Hypercar category. The team made a total of four pit stops following various technical issues, one of which included a problem with fuel pressure.
Elsewhere, the No. 708 Glickenhaus had a troubled day with spark plug and gearbox problems – the car which was driven by Luis Felipe Derani, Gustavo Menezes and Olivier Pla – eventually retiring mid-race after running on seven cylinders.
Following today’s race, the overall Hypercar World Endurance Drivers’ Championship is looking extremely close with the No. 8 Toyota crew now leading the sister car by just six points. The No. 36 Alpine A480 Gibson car is third – a further nine points behind in the standings.
Second win of the season for United Autosports USA
United Autosports USA took the second win of WEC Season 9 in LMP2 after a dominant display from its talented trio of drivers: Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Fabio Scherer.
The British team also finished third in the overall classification following various mechanical or technical issues with the five cars competing in the Hypercar category. United Autosports USA become only the fourth LMP2 team in WEC’s history to do so.
Early leaders Team WRT finished second after the squad got unlucky when the only Safety Car of race came out just after third hour, they eventually finished just under one minute behind the category winning No. 22 Oreca. It marks the second consecutive runners-up position for Team WRT’s Robin Frijns, Charles Milesi and Ferdinand Habsburg on what is only their third race in the WEC.
Dutch team Racing Team Nederland placed third with its drivers Nyck de Vries, Paul Loup Chatin and Frits van Eerd – the team running at Monza with a different line-up after its regular drivers Giedo van der Garde and Job van Uitert tested positive for COVID-19. Racing Team Nederland’s strong performance also sees the team win the new-for-2021 Pro-Am trophy despite a drive-through penalty mid-race.
Polish squad Inter Europol Competition place fine fourth after Alex Brundle, Renger van der Zande and Jakub Smiechowski fought back from an early penalty for contact at Turn 1 with the No. 70 Real Team Racing Swiss entry.
Elsewhere, the No. 28 JOTA trio of Stoffel Vandoorne, Sean Gelael and Tom Blomqvist recovered from a crash in qualifying which saw the team start from the back of the grid today to finish fifth in class. Sixth overall was the No. 21 DragonSpeed entry driven by Henrik Hedman, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ben Hanley.
In the LMP2 standings, United Autosports USA now lead the No. 38 JOTA car by 18 points going into Le Mans. Third in the points is the No. 28 JOTA car with 53 points, three points adrift of the sister car.
Click HERE for the provisional race results.
Click HERE for the provisional standings.