Portimao victory for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa, the reigning World Champions and 2023 Le Mans winners in the #8 GR010 HYBRID, delivered a faultless performance in Portugal to dominate the race and win by a lap from the #50 Ferrari and the #6 Porsche. A close fight had been anticipated in qualifying, despite the GR010 HYBRIDs topping all three practice sessions so far in Portimão, but exceptional laps from Brendon and Kamui left the other nine Hypercars in their wake. The #50 Ferrari was their nearest challenger, 1.425secs adrift in third. Brendon Hartley secured pole position for the #8 GR010 HYBRID.
A second consecutive Hypercar win means TOYOTA GAZOO Racing extends its World Championship advantage to 18 points over Ferrari with five rounds remaining. Sébastien, Brendon and Ryo move to the top of the drivers’ standings and hold an 11-point lead over the #50 Ferrari crew. Mike, Kamui and José are a further two behind in third.
“My team-mates and the whole crew did a brilliant job. I feel sorry for car #7 with this small issue which took away their chances. It would have been another tough fight, like in Sebring. We came very close to winning there but we made it today, so it is a very good feeling. We are continuing to work hard, and we’ll try to come back even stronger in Spa. The competition keeps improving so we need to take as many points as we can when we have the opportunities. I’m happy to win again and we’re pushing to keep that momentum.” Sébastien Buemi
The WEC season resumes in just two weeks with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday 29 April, the final round before the centenary edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours on 10-11 June.