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Dave Ryan joins Manor as racing director

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Manor Marussia Formula 1 Team has confirmed the arrival of Dave Ryan in the role of racing director.

Ryan, 61, returns to F1 after six years away from the sport. He was sacked from McLaren in 2009 after telling Lewis Hamilton to lie to the stewards in a bid to gain a position in the Australian Grand Prix.

Ryan had worked in the sport for 34 years, and joins Manor with immediate effect ahead of the departures of sporting director Graeme Lowdon and team principal John Booth at the end of the season.

“As Racing Director, Dave will oversee race team operations during an exciting period of development for the Manor Marussia F1 Team,” a statement from the team read.

“2015 has largely been a rebuilding year, but looking ahead to 2016, equipped with class-leading Mercedes-Benz Hybrid power, the team expects to be competing for championship points and position.”

Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick was pleased to welcome Ryan on board before formally confirming the departures of Booth and Lowdon.

“I’m delighted to announce Dave’s appointment in the newly created position of Racing Director,” Fitzpatrick said. “He needs no introduction, of course, having spent 34 years within the sport contributing to an incredible tally of race and championship wins.

“Along with our new Mercedes Benz power unit, technical partnership with Williams and recent additions to the design and technical team, Dave’s arrival is another important step towards our goal of creating a truly competitive racing team.

“I am also able to confirm that John Booth and Graeme Lowdon will be leaving the team at the end of the current season.

“I have the utmost respect for them as individuals and for all they have achieved, both with this team and in their long careers in motorsport, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and dedication during this season in particular.

“Like every great story, there comes a time to start a new chapter.”

Ryan was well aware of the challenge faced by Manor as it continues to rebuild following its collapse at the end of last year, but is relishing the opportunity to return to F1.

“I’m very excited to be joining the Manor Marussia F1 Team at a pivotal time in their development,” Ryan said.

“Having spent time with Stephen, and understood his vision for the future, it is clear he has ensured there is a strong platform from which the team can make big steps forward in the seasons ahead.

“Manor has all the hallmarks of a fiercely competitive racing team, but having grown up in a much more contemporary Formula 1 era, it is a very lean operation with a collaborative culture, which leaves it well placed to contend with the sport’s future direction.

“There is clearly a big challenge ahead and a lot of work to do, but I can’t wait to meet the wider team and get down to business.”

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
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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.