Toyota Racing Team leads 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship with wins in first two races of the seasons
Toyota Racing continued its winning start to the FIA World Endurance Championship season with victory in a tense second race of 2014 at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi won the race to extend their lead in the Drivers’ World Championship and record a third consecutive win for the #8. Toyota Racing made the short journey to the Ardennes forest this weekend to end the second round in the lead at the 2014 World Championship, after starting the season with victory and its first-ever one-two finish at the Six Hours of Silverstone on April 20.
Toyota Racing also extended its advantage in the Manufacturers’ World Championhip with the #7 TS040 Hybrid of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima finishing third after an exciting race.
According to Nobuyuki Negishi, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, TOYOTA Motor Corporation, “I am very pleased to see yet another first place finish for Toyota Racing at Spa-Francorchamps in just the second race of the season. This result is a great endorsement of the performance of the new TS040 Hybrid car and the racing credentials of our amazing drivers. I look forward to the rest of the championship as we continue our successful run to make 2014 a truly unforgettable season for Toyota Racing.”
On this occasion, Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President said: “I am proud of the whole team for our effort today. To see Toyota Racing leading the Manufacturers’ World Championship is very satisfying and it gives us big motivation for the challenge ahead at Le Mans. It was nice to see such a big crowd today and I think we gave them an entertaining race. Now we have a demanding period ahead as we prepare for Le Mans. As we have seen many times, Le Mans is a unique race and many things can happen. We will be working flat out to get ready and give ourselves the best possible chance.”
Anthony Davidson said: “This season is the first time I have ever led a World Championship. To win again here for one of the team’s home races, with a lot of support from the guys from Cologne, was fantastic. Sébastien did a lot of the hard work in the difficult middle part of the race so when I got in it was pretty much job done. It’s great we got two cars on to the podium again. Now our attention has to turn to the big one in June. I am so confident in the package we have and the team around us; it really feels like we are flourishing at the right time.”
Nicolas took the start in the #8 from second place and held position while Stéphane in the #7 had an eventful opening, switching positions several times before establishing himself in fourth, his starting spot. The pair stayed behind the wheel for just one stint, with Kazuki taking the wheel of the #7 as Sébastien took over the #8 and both taking new tyres.
Soon after half distance, Kazuki swapped with Alex while Sébastien gave way to Anthony, who soon improved the fastest lap of the race and established a clear lead. Alex was in the middle of a scrap for second but his cause was handicapped by poor visibility, caused by oil from another car on his windscreen. That was solved at the next pit stop, when Stéphane also took over and continued the chase, with Nicolas then at the wheel of the leading #8.
A final short stop for fuel on both cars set up an intriguing finish and Nicolas took the victory by 1min 13.926secs, with Stéphane third after falling just 6.935secs short of second.
The third round of the season is the Le Mans 24 Hours, which begins with the official test day on 1 June, with the race itself coming two weeks later.