TOKYO, July 11, 2022 – (JCN Newswire) – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing earned a dramatic double podium finish in the 6 Hours of Monza after an exciting but ultimately frustrating fourth round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Both GR010 HYBRIDs were strong contenders for victory in an incident-packed race at the Temple of Speed, but suffered misfortune in the heat of Hypercar competition.
Fresh from their Le Mans 24 Hours win, Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa overcame an early technical issue on their #8 GR010 HYBRID to finish second, only 2.762secs behind the winning #36 Alpine.
Last year’s Monza winners, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 GR010 HYBRID, were leading when they lost time following contact with the Alpine. The reigning World Champions finished third, two laps behind.
A spectacular race among four Hypercar manufacturers leaves both World Championships wide open going into the final two races. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 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.
The two GR010 HYBRIDs were part of a close race from the very beginning. After a clean start, Sebastien drove brilliantly to hold second place under pressure from Alpine, while Jose was close behind in fourth.
Two full course yellows in the opening 30 minutes saw all Hypercars make fuel stops. Smart strategy elevated Sebastien into second and Jose into third, although they were unable to challenge the race-leading Glickenhaus.
Late in the first hour, Sebastien’s race was interrupted by an electrical issue. He managed the issue well but could not avoid dropping two positions on track, including losing second to Jose. A system reset at his next scheduled pit stop cost 30 seconds and put him fifth but the car was back on the pace and Sebastien overtook Peugeot #94 for fourth.
A full course yellow around one-third distance triggered the next pit…