In a dramatic and closely-contested 6 Hours of Monza, Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, and Matthieu Vaxiviere were able to extend their points advantage at the top of the FIA World Endurance Championship's Hypercar standings by winning the race.
There was a tight fight for the victory between the drivers of the No. 36 Alpine A480 Gibson car and Ryo Hirakawa, Brendon Hartley, and Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid car. Throughout the first half of Sunday's six-hour contest, the American squad's No. 708 Glickenhaus 007 Pipo dominated the early exchanges. Just after the halfway point, Pipo Derani was penalized for speeding under a Full Course Yellow, ending their challenge.
Peugeot's debuting models both suffered numerous problems, resulting in a battle between Alpine and Toyota. During the fifth hour, the Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway, and Jose Maria Lopez took the lead, with the No. 8 car second and the Alpine third.
As Vaxiviere fought his way back up, he passed Ryo Hirakawa's No. 8 car before engaging Kobayashi in the No. 7, in a long battle that ended with Kobayashi receiving a spectacular right-rear puncture on the main straight. Due to the penalty imposed on the No. 7 Toyota for causing the incident, Alpine was able to claim its second victory of the season.
Realteam by WRT won its first race of the season in LMP2 with Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato defeating JOTA No. 38 crew Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Will Stevens. While multiple class contenders dropped out of contention in the first half, the WRT lineup stayed on top. After experiencing throttle sensor issues, United Autosports' No. 22 Oreca also fell out of contention.
At Lesmo 2, while running in fourth, Jonathan Aberdein in the JOTA No. 28, had contact with Kevin Estre's No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 and was eliminated from contention for the victory. After that, its sister car led until Habsburg's shorter stop saw the Austrian leapfrog Stevens. Due to aging triple-stinted tires, Habsburg was unable to close the gap on the Briton.
As a result of Nico Mueller, Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Cullen's third place finish, Vector Sport scored its first podium in the WEC., followed by Inter Europol Competition's fourth.
Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner drove faultless races in the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R but appeared to be heading for a close second place. Despite leading until the penultimate lap, the No.52 entry of Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco had to make a splash and dash fuel stop.
Corvette had however played a strategic masterstroke with Tandy's fuel saving masterclass to manage his pace and surprise everyone with a finely tuned economy run. Taking its first WEC outside of Le Mans and the first for the C8.R, Corvette made history.
The No.52 Ferrari of AF Corse Ferrari finished on the podium ahead of the No.51 entry of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, which engaged in a dramatic battle with the No.92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre.
Estre received drive-through penalties for several incidents, including one with the No.28 JOTA LMP2.
LMGTE Am honors were awarded to Dempsey Proton Porsche, as Harry Tincknell used a late 'splash and dash' strategy to defeat the Iron Dames Ferrari trio of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, and Rahel Frey.
Despite leading the LMGTE Am category for a substantial portion of the race, the Iron Dames ultimately finished second. The team had their finest ever WEC finish, and it was the first time an all-female crew stood on a podium at a WEC race.
Aston Martin LMGTE Am TF Sport driver Henrique Chaves emerged unharmed from a spectacular accident halfway through the race when his car rolled after hitting a kerb.
The fifth round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship will take place at Fuji Speedway on Sunday September 11.
Full classification can be found below.
Text - Adam Prescott
Images - Rick Kiewiet