Race report

Fuji WEC: Toyota ties Alpine on points with dominant win

Toyota romped to a dominant 1-2 finish in Sunday’s penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season at Fuji, as Sebastien Buemi, Ryo Hirakawa and Brendon Hartley boosted their title hopes with a win.

The two Toyota GR010 Hybrids were in a class of their own on the Japanese marque’s home turf, and it was the #8 crew of Buemi, Hirakawa and Hartley that held a decisive edge in race trim over the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez.

Kobayashi maintained the lead from pole at the start, initially building a small buffer over teammate Buemi, but in the second hour Buemi closed the gap and at the 1h38 mark Toyota made the call to swap its two cars, putting the faster #8 ahead.

Looking after its tyres over a stint much better than the #7 car, the #8 was never threatened for the rest of a race that was devoid of any safety car or full course yellow periods.

Hirakawa finally took the chequered flag 1m08s clear for he and his teammates’ second win of the year following their success in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

It puts Buemi, Hirakawa and Hartley level on points with Alpine trio Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao, who finished a distant third behind the two Toyotas.

The French manufacturer’s grandfathered LMP1 was never a factor for the lead fight, dropping off the lead lap in the fourth hour and ending up two laps down in the final reckoning.

Peugeot looked like it had the pace to challenge for a podium finish with the quicker of its two 9X8s, only for both of its entries to suffer reliability issues.

The #94 Peugeot had run third ahead of the Alpine in the second hour in the hands of James Rossiter, but in the third hour, after Loic Duval had taken over, the car was seen trailing smoke, prompting a 20-minute trip to the garage to fix an oil leak.

That promoted the #93 car, which had struggled for pace early on in Jean-Eric Vergne’s hands, to fourth place, with Vergne, Paul di Resta and Mikkel Jensen finishing in that position in class, seven laps down, following a seven-minute garage trip in the fourth hour.

Rossiter, Duval and Gustavo Menezes were classified fifth and last in Hypercar, 15 laps down, also receiving a one-minute stop-and-go penalty for a technical infringement.

LMP2: WRT beats JOTA to victory

In the LMP2 class, WRT’s #31 entry of Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Dries Vanthoor - standing in for an absent Rene Rast - scored a second victory of the season.

#31 WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2: Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns, Dries Vanthoor

#31 WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2: Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns, Dries Vanthoor

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

From fourth on the grid, Gelael charged to the front of the order at the wheel of the #31 WRT Oreca on the opening lap ahead of Roberto Gonzalez in the #38 JOTA Oreca.

It was JOTA that proved WRT’s closest challenger with both of its cars in the lead fight, despite the #28 car driven by Jonathan Aberdein losing time on the first lap after being hit by the Algarve Pro Racing car of Steven Thomas at Turn 10.

Frijns led the #38 JOTA car of Will Stevens by around 16 seconds heading into the closing stages, making his final splash-and-dash with 15 minutes to go.

Stevens had to bail out of his stint with four minutes left on the clock, allowing Frijns to take the chequered flag by a lap in the final classification.

JOTA’s second car shared by Aberdein, Ed Jones and Oliver Rasmussen hung on to the final podium spot against the Monza-winning Realteam by WRT Oreca of Ferdinand Habsburg, Rui Andrade and Norman Nato.

United Autosports didn’t have the pace to threaten the class frontrunners, with its pair of Orecas finishing fifth and seventh either side of Prema’s solo entry.

LMP2 Pro/Am honours went to AF Corse trio Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera for the third time this season.

GTE Pro: Ferrari 1-2 as Porsche, Corvette struggle

Ferrari put on a clinic in the GTE Pro class as Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado extended their points advantage with their second win of 2022.


Despite a fierce battle in the early stages between both Ferraris and the two factory Porsches, the Italian marque gained the upper hand towards the end of the first hour when the two AF Corse-run 488 GTE Evos established a 1-2 out front.

Over the course of the second hour the best of the Porsche 911 RSR-19s, the #92 car of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen that had started on pole slipped 15s off the two Ferraris, which ran in tandem for the bulk of the race.

The #52 Ferrari shared by Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco got ahead in the penultimate hour and led after the final pitstops, but 50 minutes to go Fuoco dropped back behind Calado and dutifully completed a 1-2 for the Italian brand.

Estre and Christensen were 31s off in the best of the Porsches, but comfortably clear of the sister #91 car of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz, who were handed a drive-through penalty early on for track limits abuse.

Corvette Racing finished fifth, two laps down, after likewise being pinged for track limits and then running out of fuel on its way into the pits just after the one-hour mark.

The TF Sport Aston Martin squad bounced back from Henrique Chaves’ monster crash last time out at Monza to dominate the GTE Am division.


Chaves, Ben Keating and Marco Sorensen crushed the opposition despite Keating briefly losing the advantage in the early stages as fellow Aston squads D’station Racing and NorthWest AMR started with their silver drivers instead of their bronzes.

Iron Dames took a second runner-up finish in a row with its all-female Ferrari crew of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey, while D’station managed to take a podium finish in its home race with Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Charlie Fagg.

WEC 6 Hours of Fuji - race results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Laps Gap
1 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 232
2 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 232 1'08.382
3 36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 230 2 Laps
4 93 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 225 7 Laps
5 31 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Belgium Dries Vanthoor
Oreca 07 LMP2 225 7 Laps
6 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 224 8 Laps
7 28 Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
Oreca 07 LMP2 224 8 Laps
8 41 Portugal Rui Andrade
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 224 8 Laps
9 23 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United States Josh Pierson
Oreca 07 LMP2 224 8 Laps
10 9 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Italy Lorenzo Colombo
Oreca 07 LMP2 224 8 Laps
11 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Will Owen
Oreca 07 LMP2 224 8 Laps
12 1 France Lilou Wadoux
France Paul-Loup Chatin
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 223 9 Laps
13 10 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Ireland Ryan Cullen
France Sébastien Bourdais
Oreca 07 LMP2 223 9 Laps
14 83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Oreca 07 LMP2 223 9 Laps
15 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Mexico Esteban Gutierrez
Oreca 07 LMP2 222 10 Laps
16 35 France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
France Matthieu Lahaye
France François Heriau
Oreca 07 LMP2 221 11 Laps
17 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 217 15 Laps
18 52 Spain Miguel Molina
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 217 15 Laps
19 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 217 15 Laps
20 94 France Loic Duval
United States Gustavo Menezes
United Kingdom James Rossiter
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 217 15 Laps
21 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 216 16 Laps
22 64 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 215 17 Laps
23 33 United States Ben Keating
Portugal Henrique Chaves Jr.
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 213 19 Laps
24 85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 212 20 Laps
25 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Charlie Fagg
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 212 20 Laps
26 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 212 20 Laps
27 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom David Pittard
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 212 20 Laps
28 46 Italy Matteo Cairoli
Denmark Mikkel Pedersen
Switzerland Nicolas Leutwiler
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 211 21 Laps
29 71 France Franck Dezoteux
France Pierre Ragues
France Gabriel Aubry
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 211 21 Laps
30 56 Japan Takeshi Kimura
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 211 21 Laps
31 88 United States Fred Poordad
United States Patrick Lindsey
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 211 21 Laps
32 21 France Simon Mann
Switzerland Christoph Ulrich
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 211 21 Laps
33 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 211 21 Laps
34 45 United States Steven Thomas
Australia James Allen
Austria Rene Binder
Oreca 07 LMP2 199 33 Laps
35 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 193 39 Laps
77 Germany Christian Ried
United Kingdom Sebastian Priaulx
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 128 104 Laps
Previous article Corvette can overcome lack of Fuji one-lap pace - Tandy
Next article Hartley "surprised" by gap between Toyotas at Fuji