20 November 2018
TOYOTA WEC VICTORY IN WET SHANGHAI RACE
**Second successive victory for the #7 TS050 Hybrid**
**Fourth 1-2 this season for Toyota GAZOO Racing**
**Toyota leads manufacturers' and drivers' titles**
Toyota GAZOO Racing overcame poor weather in a stop-start 6 Hours of Shanghai to score its fourth victory from five races in the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López won their second successive race in the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid over the sister #8 car shared by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso.
Conway took the chequered flag by just 1.419 seconds from Nakajima in a race marked by heavy rain that led to two lengthy stoppages in the first half and multiple safety-car periods.
It was Toyota GAZOO Racing's fourth 1-2 of the season and puts them 28 points clear at the head of the manufacturers' standings. The #8 trio's lead in the drivers' title has been shaved to just five points ahead of their #7 teammates.
Once the race began in earnest, the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids quickly hit the front with the #8 car leading the way in the early stages.
But the #7 car managed to jump ahead when it pitted for fuel a lap ahead of Alonso, who stayed out to ensure a Toyota continued to lead the race; unfortunately, the extra lap cost more time than expected due to a combination of factors.
Track conditions slowly improved and the two Toyota Hybrids stretched their advantage at the front with Nakajima in the #8 pushing hard to close the gap, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
The 2018-19 WEC season resumes after a long winter break with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in Florida on March 15, prior to a race at Spa and the season-finale at Le Mans in June.
Kobayashi said it was great to win the last race of the year and continue the momentum from the #7 car's victory at the previous round in Japan.
"My stint was a hard one because I came out behind the safety car and there were many other cars from other categories around me in heavy rain with very little visibility," he said.
"I concentrated on minimising risk and overtaking cleanly, with the belief that the safety car would need to come out again. When it did, and we were leading, I just focused on keeping a gap."
Buemi said the #8 car had been strong, even in the very wet conditions early in the race where he was able to take the lead from the #7 car.
"I think we had a very quick car and the speed for the victory, but the #7 crew had a bit more luck with their pit stops so the final result is a bit disappointing," he said.
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Toyota GAZOO Racing celebrates one-two result in Shanghai.
The #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with a narrow lead over its #8 sister car in Shanghai.
The #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on its way to victory in Shanghai.