Fernando Alonso helps Toyota win 24 Hours of Le Mans

Fernando Alonso helps Toyota win 24 Hours of Le Mans

Fernando Alonso helps Toyota win 24 Hours of Le Mans

Nakajima then took the lead and with Mike Conway incurring a stop and go penalty for Toyota No7, Alonso's team was able to pull away finish just over a lap ahead.

After more than 20 attempts and many heart-breaking moments later, Toyota finally won its first 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Alonso is bidding to match British driver Graham Hill's feat of completing the Triple Crown, including wins at the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500. Both cars ran reliably, with Alonso and his crew running second for much of the opening stint before the Spaniard delivered a stunning spell overnight to reduce the deficit, before Nakajima passed Kobayashi to seize a lead they would never relinquish. Alonso said on Sunday he remained committed to the full endurance championship with Toyota through to next June, with the current "super season" featuring two editions of Le Mans.

It was the #3 Rebellion R13-Gibson of Mattias Beche, Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent that finished in third place, standing on the final step of the overall podium, emerging victorious over Rebellion Racing's lead #1 auto fronted by Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna which was the victim of an accident on the opening lap of the race.

Toyota had to overcome a 60-second penalty earned by Buemi for speeding in a slow zone to triumph at the 19th attempt.

But in a series of stints in the dead of night, Alonso clawed back the deficit and put the number eight vehicle right back on the tail of the number seven.

He revealed that he and his co-drivers had already given up on trying to beat teammates Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima by this point of the race.

In an era when modern drivers tend to specialise in one category, such is the demand of the individual championships, that it would be a remarkable achievement for Alonso.

Three years of poor reliability and performance, and an apparent lack of interest in signing the ageing champion from the top three teams, broadened his outlook beyond F1. For much of the first six hours, the two Toyota LMP1 cars traded places and by the seventh hour of the race, the #7 vehicle had built a lead exceeding two minutes. Will he stop F1 at the end of this year to focus on Indycar totally, or stay in F1 and just do the Indy 500 again next year, as he did in 2017?

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