Will Power leads second Sao Paulo practice

Leave a comment

Will Power is still leading the way in Sao Paulo after leading the last practice session before this afternoon’s qualifying session. The Australian turned in a lap of 1 minute, 20.9264 seconds to lead the session for Team Penske, narrowly beating the best from Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay (1 minute, 21.0022 seconds) and E.J. Viso (1 minute, 21.2222 seconds).

Scott Dixon was fourth-quickest for Target Chip Ganassi Racing at 1 minute, 21.2826 seconds, while Sao Paulo’s own Helio Castroneves was fifth in the session (1 minute, 21.2994). Dario Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Simona de Silvestro, Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan rounded out the Top 10.

Multiple red flag periods gave a choppy feel to the second session. Among the incidents were those of Tristan Vautier, who sustained front-wing damage in an incident at Turn 5, and Kanaan, who appeared to lock up briefly before plowing through a tire barrier at Turn 2 with the right front of his machine (he eventually returned later in the session). Simon Pagenaud also ran into more issues after crashing in this morning’s first practice, as he came to a stop on the Sambadromo front stretch shortly after coming back out in his repaired Honda.

Qualifying for tomorrow’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 will go off today at 1:35 p.m. ET, with NBC Sports Network airing the session Sunday morning at 1 a.m. ET. Here are the two groups for qualifying, set by the times from the first practice:

Group 1
67-Josef Newgarden
10-Dario Franchitti
11-Tony Kanaan
14-Takuma Sato
55-Tristan Vautier
9-Scott Dixon
5-E.J. Viso
15-Graham Rahal
98-Alex Tagliani
22-Oriol Servia
83-Charlie Kimball
25-Marco Andretti

Group 2
12-Will Power
7-Sebastien Bourdais
4-JR Hildebrand
77-Simon Pagenaud
3-Helio Castroneves
27-James Hinchcliffe
1-Ryan Hunter-Reay
19-Justin Wilson
78-Simona de Silvestro
16-James Jakes
6-Sebastian Saavedra
18-Ana Beatriz
20-Ed Carpenter

Watch tomorrow’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 online and on your mobile device.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
2 Comments

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.