6 Hours of Fuji: 1-2 Victory for Toyota on Home Soil in Japan

Toyota, 6 Hours of Fuji 2018, Race
Photo: © Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota was victorious in Fuji, but it was the #7 car driven by Kobayashi, Conway & Lopez, taking their first win of the season.

After losing pole position on Saturday, the #7 crew responded on Sunday, with an 11 second win over the sister #8 Toyota-Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso.

It marks Kobayashi and Conway’s first WEC win since the 2016 Fuji race, as well as the first win in the series for Lopez.

Although the two Toyotas were once again in a league of their own, the best non-hybrid LMP1 car of Rebellion Racing, that finished in third, was just four laps behind.

The winning #7 car was also able to enjoy a few on-track battles with the SMP Racing cars, although not being in the same lap.

From eight on the grid the #7 Toyota, started by Kobayashi, had carved its way through to second behind the polesitting #8 car by the end of the second lap on a wet track.

An unexpected puncture for the MR Racing Ferrari spewed debris all over the main straight and brought out the safety car, 30 minutes into the race.

Nakajima pitted the #8 Toyota just before the pitlane was closed, emerging behind Kobayashi, who inherited a five-second advantage when both men made their second stops to switch to dry tyres.

Buemi was able to catch Kobayashi in the third hour after taking over from Nakajima, but wasn’t able to pass before Kobayashi finally pitted to hand over to Conway.

Conway pulled away to the tune of 20 seconds as the #8 car appeared to struggle with balance during Alonso’s turn at the wheel, leading to a rear deck change when the Spaniard made way for Nakajima in the penultimate hour.

Lopez had taken over the #7 by this stage, maintaining the lead Conway had built, before Kobayashi returned to the cockpit for the final stint to take the chequered flag.

Rebellion came out on top in its battle against SMP Racing to finish as top privateer, although the Russian squad held a decisive edge during the wet first hour.

Alonso’s ex-teammate Jenson Button finished a WEC race for the first time this season, after seemingly enjoying himself, in 4th position.

The next World Endurance Championship event will take place on th 18th of November in China, with the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

6 Hours of Fuji LMP1 Race Results
P#DriversTeamClassLapsGap
1.
7Kobayashi
Conway
Lopez
Toyota Gazoo RacingLMP1230 
2.8Alonso
Buemi
Nakajima
Toyota Gazoo RacingLMP1230+11.440s
3.1Lotterer
Senna
Jani
Rebellion RacingLMP1226+4 Laps
4.11Button
Petrov
Aleshin
SMP RacingLMP1219+11 Laps
5.4Webb
Dillmann
Rossiter
Bykolles Racing TeamLMP1219+11 Laps
31.10Allen
Hanley
DragonspeedLMP1179+51 Laps
32.17Sarrazin
Orudzhev
Asaakyan
SMP RacingLMP1132+98 Laps
33.3Beche
Laurent
Menezes
Rebellion RacingLMP123+207 Laps