Sportscars: Toyota 1 and 2 in WEC home race Fuji, LMP2 class victory Robin Frijns and…

Sportscars: Toyota 1 and 2 in WEC home race Fuji, LMP2 class victory Robin Frijns and…

Sports cars: Toyota 1st and 2nd in WEC Fuji home race, LMP2 class win Robin Frijns and WRT

Toyota had something to celebrate at the 6 Hours of Fuji

The final race of the FIA ​​WEC season, held at the Fuji circuit, resulted in a double success for Toyota Gazoo Racing, who took two first places in front of the home crowd. The victory went to Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa, who took their second victory of the season after Le Mans with the No. 8 Toyota. In LMP2, the Belgian team won the WRT with Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and substitute Dries Vanthoor, after a thrilling battle in the final round. The Ferrari AF Corse team took the first two places in GTE-Pro, with wins for James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi. In GTE-Am, Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sørensen won in TF Sport-Aston Martin.

Text: René de Boer (Twitter: @renedeboer)
Photo: PR

For the first time in three years, the FIA ​​WEC raced again in Japan, bringing a total of 45,000 visitors over the weekend. They witnessed the strong performance of both Toyotas, where the recent revision of the Alpine badness certainly played a role. Already in the early stages, Sébastien Buemi managed to pass number 8 Toyota brand-mate Kamui Kobayashi in number 7 who started from the pole, and laid the foundation for victory. Afterwards, Hartley and Hirakawa finished the job, taking the Toyota for the eighth time out of nine WEC races at Fuji. The No. 7 Toyota with Kobayashi, Conway and López finished second by more than a minute.

220912 WEC race startsThe start of the race, the first time since 2016 there was no rain at Fuji in the WEC

With the victory in Japan, Buemi, Hartley and Hirakawa are now tied in the drivers’ championship with Alpine drivers André Negråo, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière, who finished third at Fuji. So the decision will be made during the final race on November 12 in Bahrain. Both Peugeots lost time at Fuji due to technical problems, the best placed 9X8 was that of Paul Di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen, who finished fourth.

220912 WEC WRT
“Fuji-san” was good to Robin Frijns and his WRT teammates

In LMP2, the JOTA-Oreca of António Félix da Costa, Will Stevens and Roberto Gonzalez looked on their way to victory for a long time, but a ‘splash and dash’ with five minutes to go saw Robin Frijns in the WRT-Oreca take the lead and then drive home to win. “It was difficult, because I had to do almost the entire last session without radio contact,” Frijns said. He shared the car with Sean Gelael and Dries Vanthoor, with the Belgian filling in for René Rast, who competed in the DTM at Spa-Francorchamps at the weekend. The three of JOTA were placed in second place and thus had a big lead in the standings. Another JOTA-Oreca with Ed Jones, Jonathan Aberdein and Oliver Rasmussen finished third. Vector Sport-Oreca, where Renger van der Zande stepped in as a replacement for Nico Müller – also barred from DTM duties – along with Sébastien Bourdais and Ryan Cullen, finished ninth in class after a tough race. Initially, Cullen was even in third place, but a collision with a GTE car caused him to lose a lot of time.

220912 FIA WEC Ferrari
AF Corse-Ferraris finished first and second in GTE-Pro

In GTE-Pro, the two AF Corse-Ferraris were strong, after James Calado initially fought with Kévin Estre in number 92-Porsche which started from pole. However, as the race went on, the Ferraris got out more and more. Calado and Pier Guidi won, Molina and Fuoco completed the double for AF Corse. The Porsches finished third and fourth, with excellent results for Estre and Christensen. In GTE-Am, TF Sport-Aston Martin drivers Henrique Chaves, Ben Keating and Marco Sørensen won by a stroke over the Iron Women Ferrari of Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy and Rahel Frey. Third place was taken by the D’Station Aston Martin of Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino and Charlie Fagg.