TOYOTA RACING SCORE 1-2 FINISH AT SILVERSTONE FIA WEC RACE


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The winning Toyota TS 040 Hybrid driven by Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi. Photo: www.ajbphotographic.co.uk

Silverstone played host to the opening round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship over the Easter weekend with non-stop action in the 6-hour endurance race, as well as the supporting FIA Formula 3 European Championship and European Le Mans Series. Donna Kelly reports on a busy weekend…..

1-2 for Toyota Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship as Audi crash out

An action packed 6 hour race in the FIA World Endurance Championship saw Toyota Racing take 1-2 in the first round of the 2014 season as both Audi Sport Team Joestcars crashed out in a race to forget for the champions.

Wet weather conditions caused all types of drama out on track, with the No. 1 Audi R18 of Lucas Di Grassi going into the barrier at Woodcote after a big slide and the No. 14 Porsche forced to limp back to the pits after losing a left front wheel out on track. As Sebastian Buemi lead a Toyota 1-2 in LMP1-H class, Audi’s problems continued as Andre Lotterer spun off at Stowe, beaching his Audi R18 into the gravel before a snatch vehicle released him to re-join the pack.

During the second hour, a great drive by Ben Collins in the No. 53 Ferrari F458 of RAM Racing saw the ex-Stig locked in a battle for the GTE AM lead with fellow Brit Sam Bird in the No. #81 AF Corse 458, meanwhile the sister No. 61 AF Corse had a nail biting moment in the pit lane as the Ferrari caught fire.

As race entered half distance, Audi’s woes went from bad to worse as Benoit Treluyer in the No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro spun off and hit the barrier on entry to Copse. Despite Treluyer’s attempts to re-join the race, damage to the front right suspension left the French driver with no option but to retire, forcing a Safety Car out on track whilst marshals recovered his stranded vehicle.

In the final hour, a Safety Car was called out again as heavy rain caused treacherous driving conditions out on track. With just 25 minutes left on the clock, a red flag brought an early end to the race, leaving Toyota Racing to take 1-2 in the LMP1 class with the No. 8 entry of Anthony Davidson, Nicholas Lapierre and Sebastian Buemi ahead of the No.7 entry of Alexander Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima. The No.20 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley came in third in class.

In LMP2, the No. 26 Morgan of G-Drive Racing claimed the class win ahead of the No. 47 Oreca and No. 27 Oreca. In GTE Pro, the No. 92 Porsche won from No. 91 Porsche and No. 97 Aston Martin.

The No. 95 Aston Martin Racing entry of Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeir Hansson and Nicki Thim took the race win in the LMGTE Am class, ahead of the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Christoffer Nygaard in second and the No. 81 AF Corse Ferrari of Stephen Wyatt, Michele Rugolo and Sam Bird.

Thiriet by TDS Racing take home silverware in the European Le Mans Series

A sensational start to the 2014 European Le Mans Series at Silverstone saw race leader Simon Dolan crash out in the final hour, leaving the Morgan Nissan of Thiriet by TDS Racing to take home the silverware in the LMP2 class.

As the lights went out, a frantic start by the No. 48 Oreca 03 Nissan of Murphy Prototypes, the No. 99 McLaren MP4 12C of Art Grand Prixand the No. 66 and No. 58 Ferrari F458 Italia’s of JMW Motorsport and Team Sofrev-Asp, resulted in all four drivers receiving a stop and go penalty for a jump start.

In GTE, a great battle between the No. 54 Ferrari F458 of AF Corse, No. 82 Porsche 997 of Crubile Sport and the No. 81 Ferrari F458 of Kessel Racing saw the top three cars pull into the pits at the same time, only for the No. 81 Ferrari F458 to stall in the pits, leaving the No. 54 and No. 82 to battle it out on track. The Murphy Prototypes team also encountered problems when a front left puncture forced the No. 48 Oreca-Nissan back into the pits for repair.

After more than three hours of mostly incident-free racing,a Safety Car was summoned on lap 98 after race leader Simon Dolan was pushed wide byMichele Rugoloin the No. 55 AF Corse, forcing the No. 38 Jota Sport Zyetk-Nissan to skid across the track, collecting the No. 50 Morgan-Judd of Larbre Competitionon the Hangar Straight, before hitting the concrete wall.

Dolan was extracted from the car as a precaution and taken to the Medical Centre before being later discharged. With just a few laps to go, a bold move by Tristan Gommendyin the No. 46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Morgan-Nissan saw the French driver take home the first win of the 2014 season, ahead of the No. 34 Race Performance of Michel Frey and Franck Mailleux and the No. 43 Morgan-Judd of Newblood By Morand Racing of Christian Klien, Gary Hirschand Romain Brandelain the LMP2 class.

In LMPGTE , the the No. 55 AF Corse entry of Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Michele Rugolo took home the class win ahead of the No.72 of Andrea Bertolini, Viktor Shaitar and Sergey Zlobin in the SMP Racing Ferrari. Third on the LMGTE podium was the No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo and David Hallyday.

In the GTC class, Team Ukraine took home the winners' points with Andriy Kruglyk, Sergil Chukanov and Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi behind the wheel of the No.96 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. Second place honours went to the No.73 SMP Racing F458 of the Russian team Olivier Beretta, David Markozov and Anton Ladygin. Jan Magnussen, Johnny Laursen and Mikkel Mac finished third in the No. 60 Formula Racing Ferrari 457 GT3.

Rookie wins for Esteban Ocon & Antonio Fuocoin the FIA Formula 3 European Championship

The 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship kicked off in fine form at Silverstone with a win for rookie drivers Esteban Oconand Antonio Fuoco in the opening rounds.

A great start by Tom Blomqvistin round one saw the Brit take the chequered flag ahead of Esteban Oconand Jordan King, after a scrap between Michele Beretta and Alexander Toril forced an early Safety Car out onto track as both cars spun off at Brooklands corner.

In round two, a clash between Richard Goddard and Roy Nissany resulted in an early retirement for the Australian driver while 16-year old Max Verstappen pulled off a great drive to take fifth place from the more experienced Jordan King. The drive of the day went to rookie Esteban Oconwho took a dominant win over Nicholas Latifi in second and Antonio Fuoco in third.

A flying start by rookie Antonio Fuoco in round three saw the Italian storm through the field to take the lead from pole sitter Esteban Ocon, while further back, Nicholas Latifi pulled off a bold overtake around the outside at Copse corner to take fourth from Tom Blomqvist. As rookie Antonio Fuoco took the chequered flag ahead of Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, it was a disappointing race for Jake Dennis and Felipe Guimaraes who were both forced to retire following a spin out on track.

For all the results and stats from the 6-hours race and F3 triple-header visit http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com/ while for the ELMS results go to http://elms.alkamelsystems.com/