On paper Toyota’s return to the LMP1 category at Le Mans in 2012 was an abject failure. Yet, with an interrupted development program, they have much to be proud of. Like this battle between Benoît Tréluyer in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Nicolas Lapierre in the #7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid.
In a high speed fight for the Mulsanne Straight the Toyota finished in front and took the lead of the race. Let’s hope in 2013 they find the reliability required to keep pace with Audi for the full 24 hours.
Lapierre gives us his side of the story: “I’m leaving the pits to start my fifth stint, the third on the same set of tyres. I know he’s ahead of me and I don’t have much time to ask questions. Honestly, I’m not thinking about where I’m going to overtake him. I attack and I see traffic ahead of him in the second chicane. I can take my chance at Mulsanne corner…
“I’m able to pass him at the exit of Mulsanne. He passes me back at Arnage. I could have closed the door but I prefer not to take any chances and I retake him at the exit of the corner. I know at that point that it’s very important to pass at that spot. The Porsche curves follow, and I know that he won’t be able to pass me after that. And that’s what I’m able to do.”
[Source: Toyota Hybrid Racing]