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Toyota Takes Dominant 6 Hours of Portimão Victory

After the crew of the No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRID, who had previously won at Sebring, were forced to pit early in the race for a drive shaft replacement, the No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRID crossed the finish line first.



At the beginning of the race, Buemi fell behind his colleague Mike Conway as well as the No. 51 Ferrari 499P driven by James Calado. However, the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid was able to reclaim the lead before the end of the first hour.


Due to an FIA-mandated torque sensor failure, the No. 7 car, which was piloted by Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez, was had to repair a driveshaft on the left side during the race. This occurred as Toyota was pulling away from the rest of the competition.


Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, and Nicklas Nielsen drove the No. 50 Ferrari 499P to a second-place result, which was an improvement on the team's previous best performance, which was a third-place finish in Round 1.



Despite the fact that AF Corse did not have a very successful race, there are many reasons for confidence. The team's performance in the pits, the garage and the field during this race was noticeably better than it had been during prior competitions. As a result, Ferrari remained competitive early on and was able to put pressure on the vehicle that ultimately won, maintaining its position on the lead lap for more than five hours.


Andre Lotterer, Kevin Estre, and Laurens Vanthoor brought home the No. 6 Porsche 963 to its first-ever World Endurance Championship podium during the same weekend that Porsche Penske Motorsport won the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.



Despite Lotterer making a late fuel stop, the German crew finished more over a minute clear of Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook, and Earl Bamber in the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R.


Cadillac Racing was the only major factory team competing in Hypercar that did not have a significant on-track incident or technical problem, and their car finished just off the podium, a few seconds behind the Porsche. In addition, Cadillac Racing was the only team that did not have a mechanical issue. For the V-Series, complete more than one lap.Despite the fact that R was unable to keep up with the leaders of the race, the team was still able to play a part in the competition since their vehicle's tyres wore down far more slowly than those of the other competitors.


With thirty minutes left to go in the race, Lynn climbed into fourth place by taking advantage of the continual brake troubles experienced by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Antonio Giovinazzi in their Ferrari (No. 51).


Due to problems that started occurring with the front braking system in the third hour of the race, the Italian team spent the most of the competition without brake-by-wire. The issue continued to become worse until the final hour, when Pier Guidi lost control of his car as he neared the Turn 5 hairpin, which made room for Lynn to get through.



The crew of the No. 93 9X8 Peugeot also encountered issues with the vehicle's steering, and they were forced to reassemble the rack in the days coming up to the competition. To finish in a respectable seventh place, just behind the No. 94 vehicle, the drivers of the car had to engage in a recovery effort right from the beginning. They started the race behind by one lap, and they had to make up ground throughout the race in order to do so.


The performance of the No. 94 car was considerably more promising, as it continuously competed with the Cadillacs and Porsches for a top-five finish. This was a significant improvement from the previous race. In spite of the fact that the Peugeot programme has made some improvements since its disastrous performance at Sebring, the outcome was in no way indicative of a complete turnaround.


Jacques Villeneuve's No. 4 Vanwall Vandervell 680 Gibson had a brake failure and crashed into the barriers at Turn 10 of the race, which prompted the deployment of the race's lone safety car.


The GTE-Am race comes down to the wire, but United Autosports prevails in LMP2.


In the LMP2 class, there was again another close finish. After the team's disappointing showing in the first race of the season, the No. 23 United Autosports ORECA driven by Oliver Jarvis, Giedo Van Der Garde, and Josh Pierson took the checkered flag as the race winner in spectacular manner. This victory provided a much-needed lift for the squad.



Oliver Jarvis was in the lead for the majority of the race, but he was passed by Danill Kvyat in the No. 63 Prema ORECA after a failed pit stop that was caused by a radio fault. Kvyat was able to finish the race in first place. Unfortunately for Prema, the final series of pit stops that occurred after the restart resulted in a slip to third position, behind the two United ORECAs (with the No. 23 recovering the lead and the No. 22 of Phil Hanson completing in close pursuit).


Unfortunately for Prema, Kvyat ended in fourth place after being passed for third by Louis Deletraz in the No. 41 WRT ORECA in the closing circuits of the race.


Even in the last hour of GTE Am, there was a struggle to the finish. Nicky Catsburg displayed a defensive masterclass to maintain his lead over Alessio Rovera in the dying minutes of the race, which came down to a battle between the pole-sitting No. 33 Corvette Racing C8.R and the No. 83 Richard Mille Racing Ferrari.



Rovera eventually was unable to bring about the transformation that was desired. He didn't let up on the gas, but in the end he had to settle for second place behind the Vette, which took the title for the second time this year.


The No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche, which had been in contention throughout the race, came in third, barely twenty-five seconds behind the winning car.



The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be held at Spa Francorchamps on the 29th of April, you can hear live coverage from our friends at Radio Le Mans and don't forget our new Podcast launches this coming week!


Below are the full results.


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Images by Rick Kiewiet

 

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