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Le Mans as it happened: How Toyota secured their historic one-two

Le Mans as it happened: How Toyota secured their historic one-two
By Eurosport

17/06/2018 at 13:11Updated 17/06/2018 at 14:11

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14:00 - It's a Toyota one-two

Congratulations to Toyota, who have completely dominated this race and secure a deserved victory.

13:30 - Agony for Jenson Button

13:25 - The finish is in sight

12:30 - Toyota in total control

The two Toyota's are just trying to make it to the finish now. Fernando Alonso's #8 has a lap advantage over the team's other car, which in turn has a twelve lap lead over the chasing pack. Yes, you heard that right. TWELVE LAPS.

11:00 - Why were there people on the track at Le Mans?

Video - Le Coach: Why were there people on the track at Le Mans?

09:33

10:45 - All about Alonso

One man will dominate the reaction to this year’s Le Mans.

Fernando Alonso’s car is way out in front and the star of Formula 1 has been thoroughly enjoying himself.

The Spaniard put in a remarkable stint during the night to reduce a two-minute deficit after a stop-go penalty and team mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima then did their bit to take back control.

"Tell me if you want another stint, eh? I've got into the rhythm of the night," Alonso had said over the team radio as he closed the gap. Instead, he handed over to Nakajima, who then passed fellow-Japanese Kamui Kobayashi for the lead.

That turnaround has fuelled conspiracy theories that Toyota want Alonso to win for the extra publicity value, although the manufacturer denies any favouritism.

09:00 - What you missed overnight...

Video - Replay: Watch the crashes and drama from overnight at Le Mans

00:56

08:00 - Toyota still running the show

It's hard to see Toyota losing this from here, but you never know. Fernando Alonso's #8 car is building a pretty big lead.

06:30 - Alonso and co take charge

There has been a change of lead overnight with Fernando Alonso's #8 Toyota car now leading the race, with Sebastian Buemi currently at the wheel.

Kamui Kobayashi was in the #7 Toyota when he was overtaken at around 5:30am this morning.

At the time of writing, the #7 Toyota had a lead of 40 seconds, with 7:30 remaining in the race.

00:00 - Should Fernando Alonso have been disqualified?

Video - Le Coach: Should Fernando Alonso have been disqualified?

07:54

22:00 - Toyota in control at Le Mans

The Toyota Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López continue to lead the way heading into the night at Le Mans.

Toyota enjoying a 1-2 at the front of the field.

We are at the halfway stage of the race with Kamui Kobayashi the current driver being chased by Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car of Toyota.

20:00 - Alonso: 'It was great'

Fernando Alonso was pretty pleased with his first stint.

The Spaniard briefly carried his Toyota into the lead, although they have since slipped back behind their team-mates. No need to panic. A long, long way to go.

Meanwhile, our roving reporter's cheeky question comparing endurance racing to Formula 1 was, erm, overlooked:

Video - Fernando Alonso on first stint: ‘So far, so good’

01:21

19:00 - Traffic alert

Great driving from the Toyotas. This looks crazy...

Video - ‘Brave stuff’ – Fernando Alonso skilfully negotiates traffic

02:08

18:30 - ‘Humongous impact’

Dominik Kraihamer spins off track and suffers a big collision. Fortunately, he's OK to scramble out of the wreckage. The safety car is out for the second time.

Video - ‘Humungous impact’ – Kraihamer crash brings out safety car

01:09

18:00 - Button reveals frustration

Jenson Button felt the frustration of Le Mans after his hopes of a competitive debut in the 24 Hours race disappeared before he had even got in the car.

The 2009 Formula One world champion, who endured plenty of disappointment in his latter years at McLaren before calling time in 2016, is competing at the Sarthe Circuit for the Russian-backed SMP team.

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov, who shares the number 11 SMP BR1 car with his compatriot Mikhail Aleshin and Button, pitted after 18 laps while running fifth and stayed in the garage.

By the four hour mark, the car was last of 60 on the timesheets and had spent an hour and a half being worked on with no indication of when it might reappear.

"There's a sensor failure," Button told Eurosport with the race three hours gone.

"We had a few sensor failures this week. It's quite disappointing, but this one's really deep into the power unit so it's taking a long time.

"We're 30 laps down now from the leaders and you're never going to get anywhere near clawing that back. Even catching the back of the LMP2 field at the end of the race is tough. It's become more of a test for us now."

17:45 - What are you doing?!

And the award for dumbest crash of the day goes to... this guy:

Video - The dumbest crash of the day?

00:25

17:30 - Alonso overtakes sister Toyota for lead

It's hardly the most contested battle in motorsport history, but Fernando Alonso leads at Le Mans.

Video - Fernando Alonso takes the lead

01:45

17:00 - Toyota takes over top positions

It is all Porsche and Ford at the top of the standings before Totoya take over at the top. Fernando Alonso is on the track for the first time this year in his Toyota Hybrid.

Alonso is making his Le Mans debut in a car shared with Buemi and Japan's Kazuki Nakajima, who secured pole on Thursday night. Team-mate Sebastien Buemi Buemi pitted from the lead after the first half hour, with British driver Mike Conway taking over at the front in the sister number seven TS050 hybrid car.

Alonso, the double Formula One champion who is doing both the full grand prix season for McLaren and World Endurance with Toyota, is the talk of Le Mans as he bids to become the second man after late Briton Graham Hill to win the 'Triple Crown of Motorsport'.

To achieve the feat, the 36-year-old needs to win Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500, which he led last year before an engine failure, having already won the Monaco Grand Prix twice as well as the F1 title.

The Triple Crown was originally conceived as the F1 title, Le Mans and Indianapolis but Monaco has latterly replaced that as the three top motor races. Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya has already completed two of the three legs -- Monaco and Indianapolis -- and is also racing at Le Mans but in a second tier LMP2 car that can only win in exceptional circumstances.

Toyota are overwhelming favourites, as the only major manufacturer competing after champions Porsche quit last year, but nothing can be taken for granted in a race that has been cruel to them in the past.

Only one Japanese marque has won before, Mazda in 1991, and Toyota have failed 19 times -- agonisingly last year when their two leading cars retired in a night of drama.

In 2016, Nakajima was heading for victory when he slowed with five minutes remaining and came to a halt with victory falling into Porsche's lap. (

15:00 - Toyota set the pace

After the first hour it is Toyota Gazoo Racing who are setting the early pace. Car #8, with Sebastien Buemi behind the wheel, leads after 16 laps. And just behind comes Mike Conway in #7, also of Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Sebastian Buemi

Sebastian BuemiEurosport

14:01 - Crash!

There's drama in the first 15 seconds of the race.

Video - Carnage in the first 15 seconds of Le Mans 24 Hours

01:54

14:00 - It's GO. GO. GO.

French Open tennis winner Rafael Nadal getsthe 86th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans started on Saturday, with Fernando Alonso's Swiss team mate Sebastien Buemi starting in pole position in the number eight Toyota.

"The energy of this place is just fantastic," Alonso told nine-times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in a trackside interview for Eurosport television before asking the drivers to start their engines.

"I am experiencing something completely different."

Alonso is making his Le Mans debut in a car shared with Buemi and Japan's Kazuki Nakajima, who secured pole on Thursday night.

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