Alonso settles for second in soggy Shanghai WEC race

he podium (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP); Kazuki Nakajima (JPN); Sebastien Buemi (SUI) #08 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid, second; Kamui Kobayashi (JPN); Mike Conway (GBR); Jose Maria Lopez (ARG) #07 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid, winners; Vitaly Petrov (RUS); Mikhail Aleshin (RUS); Jenson Button (GBR) #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 - AER, third.
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso and his #8 Toyota team mates Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima had to settle for second place for the second race in succession.

They were pipped to the line in the 6 Hours of Shanghai FIA World Endurance Championship race by their stablemates in the second #7 Toyota.

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López finished 1.4s ahead in a repeatedly rain-interrupted race on Sunday.

The race was stopped on two occasions because of the inclement conditions, with proper green flag racing not possible until four hours into the scheduled event.

Initially, divergent pit stop strategies mixed up the order, but as things shook out it was clear that the two Toyota hybrids had a huge advantage over the rest of the LMP1 field.

In the private Toyota battle, the #8 held the early advantage but was then overtaken by the #7 when they were able to make their second stop on a lap when the field was already being directed through the pit lane.

A red light at the end of pit lane further held up Alonso as he was seeking to get back on track having just taken over driving duties from Buemi.

Nakajima subsequently began to claw back some of the gap to Conway, only for a safety car to be deployed with 20 minutes remaining following a crash for the #17 SMP Racing car. With conditions deteriorating again, the Toyotas held station to the finish when racing resumed.

Race winners Jose Maria Lopez (ARG), Mike Conway (GBR), and Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) #07 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

The sister #11 SMP car was more successful, with Jenson Button and his team mates Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov joining the massed ranks of Toyota drivers on the podium following the finish. They finished a lap down from the two hybrids.

The #1 Rebellion Racing car had a chance to bid for the position after the last safety car, but Andre Lotterer struggled in the worsening conditions and finished 16 seconds away from the #11.

The sister #3 Rebellion was two laps further back after Thomas Laurent hit the barriers under the safety car. The first of the day's rain stoppages gave the team the time they needed to effect repairs.

LMP2 honours went to Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 Oreca car. Drivers Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi claimed their second class win of the superseason, and the third win in a row for the team.

The #31 DragonSpeed entry was runner-up in the hands of Roberto González, Pastor Maldonado and former F1 driver Anthony Davidson, finishing ahead of the #28 TDS Racing Oreca which had been hit by the leading GTE-Pro car with just under two hours to go.

The #95 Aston Martin survived the clash, and Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim went on tl claim class honours over the #91 and #92 Porsche entries.

And in the GTE-Am category, the Dempsey-Proton squad bounced back from being docked all of its championship points to date for alleged manipulation of its cars' data loggers by taking victory in class in Shanghai.

Matt Campbell, Julien Andlauer and Christian Ried emerged victorious over the Fuji-winning #56 Team Project 1 Porsche. The second Dempsey car was also on the podium when the chequered flag came out at the end of a thoroughly miserable day weather-wise.

Sebastien Buemi (SUI) / Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) / Fernando Alonso (ESP) #08 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

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