Fernando Alonso claimed his first FIA World Endurance Championship victory in his debut race at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday.
The Spaniard, driving alongside Toyota teammates Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, won from pole position after dramatically being promoted post-qualifying from second to the front of the grid when its sister car was found to have breached the regulations.
The #8 Toyota lead from the front for the majority of the race where the 6-hour event saw three Safety Car interventions. Trouble on Lap 1 saw three GT Ferraris ferociously battle for early track position sending the GTE-Am Class #86 Porsche into the barriers at the Les Combes chicane.
Meanwhile, Harry Tincknell crashed heavily during his stint in the #67 Ford GT entry at Eau Rouge, going head first into the tyres on driver’s left.
Towards the closing stages of the race, the #17 LMP1 car of Russian Matevos Isaakyan also had a heavy shunt, this time at Raidillon, bringing out the Safety Car for the final time.
Alonso took to the wheel for the first time during the first Safety Car period before getting the honours to drive the car home in the final hour of racing. It is the 36-year old’s first FIA-sanctioned win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and his last win at Spa-Francorchamps since his Formula 3000 days way back in 2000.
In the LMP2 race, Giedo van der Garde in his Team Netherlands entry took an early lead but was forced to retire with an electrical issue. That meant the invitational entry of former Toro Rosso talent Jean-Éric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola in the #27 G-Drive took control of the race taking home the chequered flag. However, the second-placed Jackie Chan DC Racing machine took full points as the best-placed full-season competitor.
Wheel-to-wheel action at Eau Rouge was seen in the GTE-Pro category where the deciding move was put on by the #66 Chip Ganassi Ford GT on the final lap of the 6 hours to steal victory from the #92 Porsche GT Team.
The winning #98 Aston Martin Racing car, featuring Niki Lauda’s son Mathias, was too good for the #90 TF Sport entry in GTE-Am, also an Aston Martin machine.
|2016 FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – Final Classification|
|Pos.||#||Team / Entry||Class||Drivers||Laps|
|1.||8||Toyota Racing TS050 Hybrid||LMP1||F. Alonso / S. Buemi / K. Nakajima||163|
|2.||7||Toyota Racing TS050 Hybrid||LMP1||M. Conway / K. Kobayashi / J.M. López||163|
|3.||3||Rebellion Racing R13||LMP1||M. Beche / T. Laurent / G. Menezes||161|
|4.||4||ByKolles Racing ENSO CLM P1||LMP1||O. Webb / D. Kraihamer / T. Dillmann||158|
|5.||11||SMP Racing BR Engineering||LMP1||M. Aleshin / V. Petrov||158|
|6.||26||G-Drive Racing Oreca 07||LMP2||R. Rusinov / J. Vergne / A. Pizzitola||156|
|7.||38||Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07||LMP2||H. Tung / G. Aubry / S. Richelmi||156|
|8.||36||Signatech Alpine Matmut A470||LMP2||N. Lapierre / A. Negrão / P. Thiriet||156|
|9.||13||Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07||LMP2||J. Jafaar / W. Tan / N. Jeffri||155|
|10.||28||TDS Racing Oreca 07||LMP2||F. Perrodo / M. Vaxivière / L. Duval||155|
|11.||31||DragonSpeed Oreca 07||LMP2||R. González / P. Maldonado / N. Berthon||155|
|12.||50||Larbre Competition||LMP2||E. Creed / R. Ricci / J. Canal||152|
|13.||66||Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT||GTE Pro||S. Mücke / O. Pla / B. Johnson||148|
|14.||92||Porsche GT Team 911 RSR||GTE Pro||M. Christensen / K. Estre||148|
|15.||71||AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE||GTE Pro||D. Rigon / S. Bird||147|
|16.||91||Porsche GT Team 911 RSR||GTE Pro||R. Lietz / G. Bruni||147|
|17.||82||BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE||GTE Pro||T. Blomqvist / A. Félix da Costa||146|
|18.||97||Aston Martin Racing Vantage||GTE Pro||A. Lynn / M. Martin / J. Adam||146|
|19.||95||Aston Martin Racing Vantage||GTE Pro||M. Sørenson / N. Thiim / D. Turner||146|
|20.||81||BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE||GTE Pro||M. Tomczyk / N. Catsburg||145|
|21.||98||Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE||GTE Am||P. Dalla Lana / P. Lamy / M. Lauda||144|
|22.||90||TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE||GTE Am||S. Yoluç / E. Alers-Hankey / C. Eatswood||144|
|23.||61||Clearwater Racing Ferrari F88 GTE||GTE Am||W. Mok / K. Sawa / M. Griffin||143|
|24.||77||Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR||GTE Am||C. Reid / J. Andlauer / M. Campbell||142|
|26.||88||Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR||GTE Am||K. Al-Qubaisi / G. Roda / M. Cairolo||141|
|27.||51||AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo||GTE Pro||A. Pier Guidi / J. Calado||139|
|28.||29||Team Nederland Dallara P217||LMP2||F. van Eerd / G. vd Garde / J. Lammers||139|
|29.||86||Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR||GTE Am||M. Wainwright / B. Barker / A. Davison||137|
|30.||54||Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE||GTE Am||T. Flohr / F. Castellacci / G. Fisichella||136|
|31.||56||Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR||GTE Am||J. Bergmeister / P. Lindsey / E. Perfetti||131|
|DQ.||1||Rebellion Racing R13||LMP1||N. Jani / A. Lotterer / B. Senna||161|
|DNF.||17||MR Racing Ferrari 488 GTE||LMP1||S. Sarrazin / E. Orudzhev / M. Isaakyan||132|
|DNF.||67||Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT||GTE Pro||A. Priaulx / H. Ticknell / T. Kanaan||26|
|DNS.||10||DragonSpeed BE Engineering||LMP1||B. Hanley / H. Hedman / P. Fittipaldi|
|WD.||5||CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta G60||LMP1||C. Stoneman / D. Stoneman|
|WD.||6||CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta G60||LMP1||O. Rowland / A. Brundle / O. Turvey|
Images via JEP / LAT