Ryan Hunter-Reay
IndyCar

Hunter-Reay quickest in Friday’s second IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio

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Ryan Hunter-Reay was quickest in the second of two IndyCar practice sessions Friday afternoon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Hunter-Reay covered the 2.2-mile permanent road course in 1:05.1950. Hunter-Reay led a Honda-powered contingent that made up seven of the 10 quickest driver times.

“Not having tested here, I’m pleasantly surprised,” Hunter-Reay said. “I thought we would be on the back foot a little bit for day one and a little bit for day two. The team did a good job coming back here preparing for it.

“(The second practice is) a busier run out there. The car is on top of the racetrack. This place can be a little bit strange like that. You have to wait till it rubbers up to tune on the car. Tomorrow we’re going to have to make it a bit better.

“I know Scott (points leader Scott Dixon) is going to be charging right to the front as well. Good thing is we have a good starting spot, a baseline I guess you can say, to build on for tomorrow.”

Second- through fifth-quickest were: Will Power (1:05.3371), Graham Rahal (1:05.4141), Spencer Pigot (1:05.4312) and Alexander Rossi (1:05.4526).

Sixth through 10th were Marco Andretti (1:05.5836), series points leader Scott Dixon (1:05.6063), Ed Jones (1:05.6223), Josef Newgarden (1:05.6585) and Jack Harvey (1:05.7293).

Sebastien Bourdais, who was quickest in the first practice session Friday morning, struggled to 14th-quickest (1:05.9454) in the second session.

Notable incidents during the session included:

* Jack Harvey, making just his fourth race appearance of the season and first since the Indianapolis 500, completely lost power in his Meyer Shank Racing Honda coming out of Turn 9 early in the session.

“I was going through Turn 9 and then I lost everything,” Harvey told the IndyCar Radio Network. “The car just kind of came to a stop. We’re not entirely sure why. It’s something mechanical. We’re hoping to get it fixed here so we can go back out on the track.”

* With about 24 minutes in the session, Will Power lost it in Turn 4, bringing out the red flag again. Power also had an issue in the first practice session, spinning in Turn 12.

* Matheus Leist, who also had a problem in the first practice, spun in Turn 1 with about seven minutes remaining.

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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.