Toyota Gazoo Racing earned its first victory of the season on home ground at the 6 Hours of Fuji, the seventh round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The #6 TS050 Hybrid of Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi came out on top by just 1.439 seconds, marking Toyota’s 11th WEC win and its fourth in five years at Fuji.
The victory lifted the #6 crew to second in the drivers’ World Championship, just 23 points off the lead.
Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima recorded their best result of a troubled season with fourth, within a minute of the winning sister car.
Porsche came third and fifth with its two 919 hybrids. For a while, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber had chances to win the race but, in the end, the reigning world champions, who had started from second place on the grid, finished third. This year’s Le Mans winners and current championship leaders, Porsche’s Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, had started from sixth position and finished in fifth.
The race was a close contest and as the four-hour mark approached, less than two seconds covered the top three cars. Kobayashi took over the #6 Toyota with just over 90 minutes remaining and was in second place at the final stop. Taking on only fuel saved vital time and the #8 Audi of Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi could not bridge the gap despite taking on new tyres at its final stop.
The WEC championship returns on November 6 with the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Drivers Championship Table
1: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb // Porsche // 140
2: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi // Toyota // 117
3: Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi // Audi // 111.5
4: Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber // Porsche // 93.5