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GP2: Evans takes second win of 2015 in Bahrain

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Russian Time driver Mitch Evans stormed to his second sprint race victory of the 2015 GP2 Series season in Bahrain on Sunday, battling past the incumbent GP3 and GP2 champions in the process.

Evans started the race from sixth place on the grid, but a melee at the first corner including Rio Haryanto and Nobuharu Matsushita sent a number of drivers wide and allowed the New Zealander to slip into third place.

The biggest winner from the start-line drama was Saturday victor and 2015 champion Stoffel Vandoorne, who shot from eighth to second, while pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to retain his lead.

The race was soon neutralized following a second incident on the first lap, this time involving Oliver Rowland and Rene Binder that resulted in the safety car being deployed.

Upon the restart, Lynn managed to open up a gap to Vandoorne who was struggling to keep Evans in third back, and ultimately lost the position on lap seven.

Lynn was next on Evans’ hit-list, and after failing to make a pass stick the lap before, the Russian Time racer finally took the lead of the race on lap 14.

From there, it was simply a case of controlling the race and keeping clean at the front for Evans as his secured his second win of the year ahead of Vandoorne after the Belgian passed Lynn with six laps to go.

Sergey Sirotkin finished fourth to keep his hopes of ending the year as vice-champion alive, while Raffaele Marciello and Jordan King followed in fifth and sixth. Pierre Gasly and Artem Markelov rounded out the points.

Alexander Rossi failed to secure second place in the drivers’ championship in Bahrain, coming away from the weekend empty handed after finishing ninth on Sunday. The American managed to battle his way up the order from 18th on the grid, but could not quite squeeze into the points.

The GP2 season comes to a close in Abu Dhabi next weekend with the feature race on Saturday followed by the sprint race on Sunday.

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

24 Hours of Le Mans
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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.