Alonso hails 'an amazing result' at Le Mans

Le Mans race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrates in parc ferme. 16-17.06.2018
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso was visibly emotional on Sunday afternoon as he stood in the Toyota garage watching his team mate Kazuki Nakajima cross the finish line to win the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours race.

"It has been amazing," said Alonso, referring not just of the victory but also about the entire Le Mans experience.

"We know how important and iconic Le Mans is in the world of motorsport and as a team we achieved an amazing result," he continued.

"Every moment was a reminder of how tough and long this race is, anything can happen so we tried to execute our race and stay calm."

It's Toyota's first win at Le Mans, having suffered heart-breaking reliability issues in the past. It means that no one was able to relax until the very last minute and the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing car was safely home.

"Happily everything worked well," smiled Alonso.

In the end, the only competition to Alonso and his co-drivers Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi came from the sister #7 Toyota. A number of penalties in the closing laps meant that it finished two laps down in second place.

"The race was hard because the two cars were very close," commented Alonso. "Within one minute after 23 hours.

"So it was tough - competitive but fair, and very sporting. We wanted a one-two and we achieved that so I am very happy."

The victory means that Alonso now has two of the three wins required for motor racing's unofficial Triple Crown comprised of Le Mans, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500.

But the magnitude of Sunday's win was every bit as big for Alonso's team mates.

"I am almost speechless," said Nakajima, who had succeeded in putting the car on pole in Thursday's qualifying session. "We finished the race without any issue on both cars so I feel we all deserved to win the race.

"To win this race has been a big dream for all of Toyota since 1985," he added. "There have been many people involved in this project so I am proud to be here to represent all that effort.

“It's great to be here finally; it has been a long time."

Nakajima had also been part of the Toyota team in 2016 when the car had faltered in the last three minutes of the race, robbing them of victory. Buemi had also been in the driving line-up on that day.

"This is definitely the biggest win of my career," said the Swiss driver. "I struggle to realise it right now because in the last few laps I couldn't forget 2016. To finally see the car crossing the line was really special.

"All the preparation that goes into this day from everyone in the team, when you finally win it, it is something really big so I will enjoy this."

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