Published: Wed, June 19, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Four stars of the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours

Four stars of the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours

With just over an hour to go in the lengthy battle, the No. 7 Toyota TS050 hybrid auto of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez had the race in hand, with a comfortable lead over the No. 8 sister vehicle, piloted by Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Kobayashi's No. 7 auto then led the first seven hours of the race, before Alonso's No. 8 briefly took the lead in the next hour.

With five hours remaining, 50 of the 61 cars were still running with the number seven Toyota of Britain's Mike Conway, Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Argentina's Jose Maria Lopez out in front.

The #36 benefited after the #26 G-Drive Racing struck electrical issues 19 hours into the race, dropping them out of contention after they had amassed a 3 minute lead in the class.

On the 367th lap, with a lead of over two minutes, data on the #7 vehicle indicated a puncture and Jose pitted to replace the tyre.

Ford signed off its GT programme at Le Mans without a podium in the Pro class, but all four entries at least made the finish in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in class.

Despite the kerfuffle at the end of the race, Toyota came out on top.

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The team changed the wrong tire, due to a sensor issue, meaning the vehicle had to limp around and pit again before rejoining in second place in a one-two finish for the Japanese manufacturer. Auto number 8 had its fair share of challenges during the first 23 hours of the race, trying to find the best balance for the vehicle.

"The world championship feels right at this moment".

Alonso, 37, recognised luck had played a big part in completing an unprecedented Le Mans double in a single super-season.

Alonso's Le Mans overall victory will be his last in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota, as he is being replaced for next season by Bamber's fellow Kiwi, friend and 2017 Le Mans co-winner Brendon Hartley. He has won Monaco and Le Mans twice, both of them back to back.

As for the other classes, Alpine took the win LMP2 with Jackie Chan DC racing just behind them.

But despite starting third, his Ferrari got stuck behind Petrov's Renault at the Abu Dhabi GP and he ended the race in seventh spot.

Jose Maria Lopez (TS050 HYBRID #7) "Firstly I would like to congratulate our team-mates from auto #8 who pushed us to the limit for the Le Mans win and the World Championship title". I would have been satisfied to finish the race in second so what happened to vehicle #7 is really painful.

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