Alonso has big decision to make after Le Mans win

Isaac Cain
June 18, 2018

The number 8 auto was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty for exceeding the amount of allowed fuel.

Expected to dominate the 86th edition of the race, as the only major manufacturer in the top LMP1 category after champions Porsche withdrew previous year, Toyota's victory came at the 20th attempt.

There wasn't such fortune for Alonso's former team mate Jenson Button, who was also making his debut at Le Mans.

McLaren ace Alonso was driving for Toyota alongside Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastian Buemi, with the trio holding off the team's sister auto to take a gruelling victory. Alonso is a two-time victor in Monaco.

Alonso's victory completes the second part of motorsport's "triple crown" for the two-time Formula 1 world champion. The Rebellion machines were the only non-hybrid privateer cars to avoid major issues.

The number 7 vehicle was always out of reach.

As the clock ticked past 24 hours, the relief was visible on all the faces of the Toyota crew in the pit and the winning drivers as they completed a victory lap with Alonso and Buemi sitting on the vehicle as Nakajima, who completed the last stint, drove.

And Kobayashi missed a pit stop in the penultimate hour and had to complete much of a lap on electrical power alone because he did not have enough fuel. One of its cars made the finish, albeit well down the order after numerous problems.

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A Toyota victory had been widely predicted after last year's champions Porsche withdrew from the 2018 edition.

The Spaniard left Ferrari at the end of 2014 having lost faith in their ability to deliver a title-winning vehicle, only to find that McLaren-Honda were in far worse shape.

His auto went in to Le Mans as strong favourite and the classic event has now been ticked off in clinical style. In 2016, Nakajima himself was in the lead Toyota about to cross the finish line, but with five minutes to go in the race a small hardware failure brought the auto to a dead stop in the final lap.

But Toyota insisted that the two cars went into the race with equal chances of winning.

Can Alonso now win Indianapolis?

Alonso now just needs to win the Indy 500.

He will be back in action for McLaren at the French Grand Prix next week, with the race returning to the calendar for the first time since 2008.

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