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Moto2 rider Luis Salom dies after Catalan GP practice accident

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MotoGP officials have confirmed that Moto2 rider Luis Salom has died following an accident during practice for the Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Salom, 24, suffered a fall in second practice for the Moto2 series and was treated on the scene before being taken by helicopter to hospital, where he underwent surgery.

The Spaniard passed away at 16:55pm CET.

“Following an incident during today’s Moto2 Free Practice 2 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, it is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Luis Salom (SAG Team),” a statement from MotoGP reads.

“The session was red flagged with just under 25 minutes remaining after the Spanish rider fell at turn 12.

“Two medical cars and then two ambulances were immediately on scene to treat the 24-year-old and the medical helicopter was also deployed to assist in his treatment.

“Due the severity of his condition, the decision was taken to transfer Salom by road to the nearby Hospital General de Catalunya. On arrival, he underwent surgery, but despite the best efforts of the trauma team, he passed away at 1655pm local time.

“Salom made his World Championship debut at Jerez in 2009 in the 125cc category. He finished on the podium in 25 races, including nine victories in the Moto3 World Championship.

“He finished the 2012 Moto3 World Championship in second position in the standings and a year later was third overall after battling with Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins down to the final round in Valencia.

“He also finished on the podium three times in 41 appearances in the Moto2 World Championship, including a second place pace in the opening round of 2016 at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

“The FIM, Dorna, IRTA, RFME and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya wishes to pass on its condolences to the family, friends and team of Salom.”

Salom’s death is the first at a MotoGP world championship event since Marco Simoncelli lost his life in the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.

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.