Le Mans 2017: Toyota/Michelin grabs history-making pole!

The final evening of Le Mans qualifying turned out to be a landmark occasion with drivers setting new qualifying records up and down the classes. Toyota/Michelin’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 TS050-Hybrid, Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin) stunned his rivals early on with a 3m14.791. That not only took the wind out of Porsche’s sails but also goes down as the fastest ever lap in Le Mans history. There were record performances, too, in LMP2 (N°26 Oreca), LM GTE Pro (N°97 Aston Martin) and LM GTE Am (N°50 Chevrolet/Michelin).


Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota/Michelin dominates Test Day

The top three places at Sunday’s official pre-Le Mans Test Day were monopolised by Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin prototypes. Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 Toyota) bettered the 2016 pole-winning time, while Michelin runners also dominated the LM GTE Pro class with Corvette and Porsche.


One-two success for Porsche/Michelin at the Nürburgring

Following in the wake of its recent triumph at Le Mans, Porsche Team dominated Round 4 of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to claim one-two glory with its N°2 and N°1 cars at the Nürburgring, Germany. The LM GTE Pro battle was won by the N°51 Ferrari/Michelin, ahead of the two Michelin-equipped Porsche 911 RSRs.

The early part of the all-dry race was led by the pole-winning N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi, although the N°8 sister car (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) was struck by a fuel pump issue during the formation lap. Five laps were needed for repairs but the second Japanese car managed to fight its way back to fourth by the halfway point, which was the best result it could hope for.

Meanwhile, José-Maria Lopez (N°7 Toyota) was passed at the start of the second hour by Porsche’s Brendon Hartley and Neel Jani whose Porsche 919 Hybrids were sporting their 2017-spec high-downforce guise for the first time. The two drivers quickly opened up a useful gap, running in close formation around half-a-minute clear of the Toyota.

With some 15 minutes to go, the N°2 car (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) appeared ahead of the N°1 prototype of (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy) after the last round of pit stops. It went on to cross the line with a cushion of 1.606s after 204 laps (1,050km). The N°7 and N°8 Toyotas were third and fourth at the flag.

The LM GTE Pro class produced another thriller between Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari and Ford. Three hours into the race, the N°92 Porsche 919 RSR/Michelin - which had topped qualifying for the very first time – was in command, 1.2s clear of the N°51 Ferrari/Michelin. The Italian machine eased ahead during Hour 4, however, and went on to scoop the spoils, chased by the N°91 and N°92 factory Porsches.

The opening hours of the LM GTE Am scrap were dominated by the N°77 Porsche and N°98 Aston Martin before the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Ried/Cairoli/Dienst clinched the win. Third was the N°54 Ferrari/Michelin (Flohr/Castelacci/Molina) which successfully squeezed Aston Martin out of the top three in the dying moments.

LMP2 saw Jackie Chan Racing take another class victory with the N°38 Oreca (Tung/Jarvis/Laurent), with the N°31 Vaillante and N°36 Alpine also reaching the podium.

The European leg of the 2017 FIA WEC is now over and teams will meet next in North America for the 6 Hours of Mexico on September 1-3.


MotoGP: Marquez stays Sachsenring ‘Meister’

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) posted his eighth straight victory at the Sachsenring, Germany, to claim the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Spaniard was joined on the podium of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship’s eighth round by Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). 


Hyundai/Michelin scores one-two finish in Poland

Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon overcame appalling conditions to earn a one-two result for Hyundai Motorsport in Poland. Sébastien Ogier (Ford/Michelin) finished on the podium to defend his position at the top of the WRC’s provisional Driver’s standings. 

Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences wins FIM Endurance World Cup

Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences took first place at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring to claim the 2017 FIM Endurance World Cup for the best-placed Superstock entry.  


MotoGP: Sachsenring marks season’s midpoint

The 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship travels to Germany this weekend for the year’s ninth round which marks the season’s halfway point ahead of the summer break. 

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