Le Mans 24 Hours: Fernando Alonso claims back-to-back wins at famous endurance race

Toyota in the Le Mans 24 Hours

Alonso has said he will leave the World Endurance Championship at the end of the season

Fernando Alonso has won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the second consecutive year alongside Toyota team-mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

The Spanish double Formula 1 world champion’s number eight car crew, who took the lead with an hour to go, were also crowned world endurance champions.

Alonso, 37, shared the car with fellow former F1 drivers Buemi and Nakajima.

It was a one-two for Toyota with their number seven TS050 hybrid, featuring Britain’s Mike Conway, in second place.

The number seven car, also crewed by Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, led for much of the race before two late punctures.

“I think car seven was quicker than us for 24 hours, they really deserved the victory but today the luck decided that we have to take the trophy,” Alonso told Eurosport.

“Luck sometimes plays an important part in motorsport and today we feel extremely lucky and maybe we don’t deserve it but we take it.”

The number eight car crossed the line 17 seconds clear of the pole-sitting seven car after 385 laps of the 8.467-mile circuit.

Stoffel Vandoorne – Alonso’s former McLaren F1 team-mate – was part of the third-placed team in the number 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering car.

Before last year, Toyota had never won the sportscar race despite years of trying.

Alonso has been chasing motorsport’s ‘triple crown’ of victories at Le Mans, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500.

Twice a Monaco Grand Prix winner, he failed to qualify for this year’s Indy 500 and the American classic remains the only victory to elude him.

Only Englishman Graham Hill has won all three classic races in the history of motorsport.

Alonso has said he will leave the the World Endurance Championship after the end of the season.

He tested a Dakar Rally-winning Toyota Hilux in March and has been linked with an attempt at the iconic desert-based endurance event in 2020.

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