TOYOTA GAZOO Racing moved into the final third of the Le Mans 24 Hours in seventh and eighth positions as the sun rose over the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The third round of the World Endurance Championship witnessed a relentless battle for the leading LMP1 positions in dry conditions with most of the 56-car field still running.
A trouble-free night saw both TS040 HYBRIDs consolidate their positions with the #2 of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway holding a relatively isolated seventh place, five laps behind the leader.
The #1 of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima was three laps further back in eighth, one place behind the #2 following an incident in the opening quarter of the race which required 13 minutes of repairs to the rear suspension.
As the race entered the final eight hours, track temperatures began to rise and the threat of rain showers stayed away for the time being.
Mike and Sébastien were at the wheel to see in the dawn, with neither car in a direct battle for position. Consistency and reliability were the targets as the last stages of TOYOTA’s 17th participation at Le Mans beckoned.
TS040 HYBRID #1 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)
Kazuki Nakajima: “Considering the gaps in front and behind, all we can really do is drive consistently and avoid further delays, which we have done. It’s always a challenge to drive at night here with all the traffic but my stint was fine. The pit crew have been on top of their game and the car is running reasonably well. We just wait to see how the race develops now.”
TS040 HYBRID #2 (Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway)
Mike Conway: “The car feels like it’s getting a bit better as the track is gripping up; the circuit is coming to us a bit more now. Our pace has been consistent and the car balance is pretty good. I pushed all the way and set some decent lap times. It’s all about staying in the game now.”