The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, partnered by Acronis, stayed in the lead of the manufacturers’ standings after the #8 GR010 HYBRID of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa finished just 2.762secs behind the winning #36 Alpine, the #7 HYBROD completing the podium.
It could easily have been a race victory for the #8 crew and recent Le Mans winners had they not had to battle to overcome an early electrical issue that dropped them two places.
And exactly the same could have been said of the #7 trio of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, who had to surrender the lead of the race, contact with the Alpine resulting in a right rear puncture, dropping the team to third with little over an hour to go.
It led to a grandstand finish, Hirakawa piling the pressure on the lead Alpine. But despite closing to within three seconds by the flag, the Japanese just ran out of time and had to settle for second.
Up on the podium after a hot and frantic race. 🇮🇹
Congratulations @SignatechAlpine on the victory. 👏#ToyotaGAZOORacing #GoHyper #6HMonza pic.twitter.com/KhoDe3luaD
— TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WEC (@TGR_WEC) July 10, 2022
“I am a bit disappointed to be second because I tried everything to get the win,” commented Hirakawa in the team’s post race press release. “The team reacted really well to the issue which Séb had and thanks to their efforts we were not so far behind and had the chance to come back into the race after the safety car.
“I was always very close to the Alpine but I couldn’t quite make it, which was frustrating. We only have two races remaining and the next one is our home track. We have to finish ahead of the Alpine to win the World Championship so the goal is clear. We will keep pushing to get back in the centre of the podium.”
It all means that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing still leads the manufacturers’ standings by 15 points from Alpine, while the #8 crew are second in the drivers’ rankings, 10 points behind their Alpine counterparts heading in to the penultimate round at the 6 Hours of Fuji on September 11.
“We tried our best to get the win but it was not enough today and we missed the opportunity,” added Kamui Kobayashi, Team Principal and #7 driver. “Two cars on the podium is the best we could manage.
“We weren’t quite good enough today so we need more for the next race. We want to win both World Championships so we need to win at Fuji. There is a lot of competition in Hypercar now so it will be very challenging, but this is great for the fans and we enjoy it. We still have a chance with both cars and we will not give up.”
Acronis are proud to be the official Artificial Intelligence Partner of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, helping the team perform to the best of their capabilities through machine learning. To find out more, please visit https://www.acronis.com/en-us/lp/msp-sports/