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Toyota dominate 2021 Le Mans as Ferrari beat Corvette in GTE Pro

The #7 Toyota claimed its first win at Le Mans as Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez comfortably beat the sister #8 Toyota in the 89th running of the iconic race.

Toyota won their fourth consecutive Le Mans as Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez won the famous 24 hour race for the first time. The #7 Toyota, which started from pole position, led throughout aside from a few laps across some of the early pit-stop phases. It was an utterly dominant performance and the win never looked in doubt, even though bad luck has struck the #7 Toyota in recent years at Le Mans. Any chance of a fight between the two Toyota cars came to an end on Sunday morning when the #8 Toyota, driven by Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley, inherited a fuel tank issue which forced the car to pit for fuel more frequently than normal, thus losing significant time to finish two laps behind. Most of the drama in the Hypercar class came on the opening lap in wet conditions, when Olivier Pla in the #708 Glickenhaus hit Buemi in the #8 Toyota at the first chicane. Buemi also stopped on the Mulsanne Straight to restart his car and went off the track at Arnage, all within the first four minutes of the race. At least a dozen cars were involved in incidents across the 13.6km circuit on lap one in one of the most dramatic starts to a 24 Hours of Le Mans ever. The #36 Alpine of Andre Negrao, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Nicolas Lapierre completed the Hypercar podium ahead of both Glickenhaus cars. It was the first time a French team have been on the overall Le Mans podium since 2011.

Huge drama in LMP2

There was massive drama in LMP2 as the #41 Team WRT car driven by Louis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Ye Yifei stopped on the final lap of the race at the Dunlop Chicane. It gave the win in class to the sister #31 Team WRT Oreca-Gibson car, of Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi. Frijns just hung on to victory by an astonishing seven tenths of a seconds ahead of Tom Blomqvist in the #28 JOTA Oreca who chased down the Dutchman in the final hours of the race, recovering from earlier penalties. Due to the #41's failure to finish, the #65 Panis Racing car took third place with Will Stevens, James Allen and Julien Canal.

Ferrari triumphs over Corvette in GTE

GTE Pro saw Ferrari beat Chevrolet in an intense battle between the two teams. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Come Ledogar slowly increased their lead during the final quarter of the race over Nicky Catsburg, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in the #63 Chevrolet Corvette. The class became a two-horse race overnight when the #52 Ferrari suffered a suspension failure and also had a puncture when Sam Bird was at the wheel in the morning. Kevin Estre in the #92 factory Porsche 911 RSR-19 came home in third, a lap behind the leaders, with its #91 sister car in fourth place despite damaging the rear of the car substantially with 65 minutes to go. In GTE Am, the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rover dominated the class to beat the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin after a strategic battle through the night. The #80 Iron Lynx Ferrari rounded out the podium in an uncharacteristically quiet finish in the GTE classes to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

TECH ANALYSIS Ferrari best placed to catch 'UFO Red Bull' as pecking order becomes clear