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WEC Silverstone: Buemi Toyota passes Porsche late on to win

Toyota/WEC Silverstone winners

Toyota took victory in the opening round of the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, as Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi overcame a stiff challenge from Porsche.

Having dominated qualifying, the high-downforce Toyota TS050 HYBRIDs retained a clear edge in pace over the Le Mans-spec Porsches in full dry conditions, but rain showers and caution periods helped keep the German manufacturer in contention until the end.

A safety car period caused by a high-speed crash at Copse for Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 Toyota allowed the #2 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard to stay close enough to the #8 car to attempt a strategic gamble during its final stop.

Hartley's car took fuel only, while Toyota took four new tyres as Nakajima handed over to Buemi for the last stint, giving the Kiwi driver an eight-second advantage with 31 minutes remaining.

But Buemi was able to carve into the Porsche's cushion at a rate of over a second a lap, before making the inevitable pass for the lead at The Loop with 12 minutes left.

Buemi went on to seal the win - his and Davidson's first in the WEC since Shanghai in 2014, and the #8 crew's first as a trio - by 6.173s.

Behind the lead pair, the #1 Porsche of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy finished third, losing time with a pair of additional pitstops to switch first to intermediates during a shower in the third hour and then back to slicks when the rain abated.

Prior to Lopez's crash, which resulted in the Argentinian being taken to hospital for precautionary checks, the #7 Toyota was already well out of contention.

Polesitter Mike Conway traded the lead with Buemi's #8 car in the early stages, before dropping off the pace after the first round of pitstops with a rear anti-roll bar problem.

A change of rear bodywork was followed by a trip to the gravel at Vale for Kamui Kobayashi in the third hour, prior to the Lopez accident that consigned the #7 car to the garage for lengthy repairs. Conway eventually took the finish some 38 laps down.

The ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01, which spent time in the garage early on with a brake issue, failed to make the finish after making contact with the #97 Aston Martin Vantage on the pitlane entry.

Jackie Chan DC Racing, Silverstone WEC

JARVIS WINS ON LMP2 DEBUT

In LMP2, it was the Jota-run #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA-Gibson of Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung that took a comfortable win.

The defending champion Signatech Alpine team controlled the class battle for the first two-thirds of the race, before two late full-course yellows shook up the order.

Matthieu Vaxiviere briefly led the way for the TDS Racing squad when racing resumed at the start of the fifth hour, but Jarvis was able to make a decisive pass on the #28 ORECA when it was in Emmanuel Collard's hands in the final hour.

Jarvis went on to win by 19.376 seconds over the best of the Rebellions, the #13 ORECA of Nicolas Prost, Bruno Senna and Julien Canal.

TDS fell just 1.8s seconds short of the runner-up spot, with Vaxiviere making a late charge after taking over again for the finish, with the Signatech car of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao ending up a lapped fourth.

Jackie Chan DC Racing, Silverstone WEC

FORD HANGS ON FOR GTE VICTORY

Ford survived a late scare with an opening door to take victory in GTE Pro, as Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx took a home win in the #67 Ganassi-run GT along with Pipo Derani.

The trio led early on but fell out of sequence after having to make an early first stop to address the door problem, which returned in the last half-hour.

But the two cautions gave the #67 trio a free stop, putting them back in line with their rivals, with Tincknell bringing the car home with a 15-second advantage over the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Third in class went to the sole surviving Porsche, the #91 of Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, a further 10 seconds back, while the other mid-engined 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre caused the first caution period when the car set on fire in the fourth hour.

In GTE Am, Matt Griffin scored victory for the #61 Clearwater Racing squad along with team-mates Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun.

Griffin took advantage of a last-lap clash between Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin, which had led the class for almost the entire race, and Miguel Molina in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari at Stowe.

Lamy recovered from the incident to finish second, 1.7s behind Griffin, while Molina was unable to continue, handing the final podium place to the #77 Proton Competition Porsche.

RACE RESULT

PosClassDriverTeamCarLapsGap
1LMP1S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.NakajimaToyota Gazoo RacingToyota1976h00m33.211s
2LMP1T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.HartleyPorsche LMP TeamPorsche1976.173s
3LMP1N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.TandyPorsche LMP TeamPorsche19746.956s
4LMP2H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.LaurentJackie Chan DC RacingORECA/Gibson18413 Laps
5LMP2J.Canal, N.Prost, B.SennaVaillante RebellionORECA/Gibson18413 Laps
6LMP2F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.CollardTDS RacingORECA/Gibson18413 Laps
7LMP2N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, M.RaoSignatech Alpine MatmutAlpine/Gibson18314 Laps
8LMP2R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, A.LynnG-Drive RacingORECA/Gibson18314 Laps
9LMP2T.Graves, J.Hirschi, J-E.VergneCEFC Manor TRS RacingORECA/Gibson18314 Laps
10LMP2R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.PetrovCEFC Manor TRS RacingORECA/Gibson18215 Laps
11LMP2D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.GommendyJackie Chan DC RacingORECA/Gibson18215 Laps
12LMP2M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr.Vaillante RebellionORECA/Gibson17225 Laps
13GTE ProA.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, P.DeraniFord Chip Ganassi Team UKFord17126 Laps
14GTE ProJ.Calado, A.P.GuidiAF CorseFerrari17126 Laps
15GTE ProR.Lietz, F.MakowieckiPorsche GT TeamPorsche17126 Laps
16GTE ProS.Mucke, O.Pla, B.JohnsonFord Chip Ganassi Team UKFord17126 Laps
17GTE ProD.Rigon, S.BirdAF CorseFerrari17027 Laps
18GTE ProN.Thiim, M.Sorensen, R.StanawayAston Martin RacingAston Martin17027 Laps
19GTE ProD.Turner, J.Adam, D.SerraAston Martin RacingAston Martin16829 Laps
20GTE AmMok W.S., K.Sawa, M.GriffinClearwater RacingFerrari16631 Laps
21GTE AmP.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.LaudaAston Martin RacingAston Martin16631 Laps
22GTE AmC.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.DienstDempsey-Proton RacingPorsche16631 Laps
23LMP1M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.LopezToyota Gazoo RacingToyota15938 Laps
24GTE AmM.Wainwright, B.Barker, N.FosterGulf RacingPorsche14354 Laps
-GTE AmT.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.MolinaSpirit of RaceFerrari165Retirement
-LMP1O.Webb, J.Rossiter, D.KraihamerByKOLLES Racing TeamENSO CLM/NISMO155Retirement
-GTE ProM.Christensen, K.EstrePorsche GT TeamPorsche95Retirement

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