Fernando Alonso wins Le Mans 24 with Toyota


Fernando Alonso said he was happy with his first spell at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Saturday although he admitted the heavy traffic on track was a different challenge to the rarified air of Formula 1. Victory was theirs to lose - but Toyota have been burnt before, losing victory on the final lap two years ago.

The McLaren driver, who will remain in France for next weekend's French Grand Prix at Le Castellet, has yet to win the Indianapolis 500 - a race he led in 2017 before an engine failure - to match the late Graham Hill's achievement.

Instead, he handed over to Nakajima, who then passed fellow-Japanese Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota for the lead.

Alonso, who is also a double Monaco Grand Prix victor, has made a big play about becoming only the second driver to take the "Triple Crown of Motorsport" and Le Mans is the second box to be ticked.

The last F1 driver to win at Le Mans was Germany's Nico Hulkenberg with Porsche in 2015, but he only entered one race, while Alonso signed for the entire endurance season and, after winning the first two rounds, is leading the overall standings.

Take a look through the gallery above to see the best pictures as Rafael Nadal starts the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race.

A Toyota victory had been widely predicted after last year's champions Porsche withdrew from the 2018 edition.

The Spanish driver, together with teammates Kazuki Nakajima of Japan and Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland, completed 388 laps in their Toyota hybrid vehicle, two more than Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in the other Toyota hybrid.

In addition to Alonso, two other noted Formula 1 drivers are making their Le Mans debuts - British former World champion Jenson Button is driving for SMP Racing and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya for United Autosports.

Toyota's closest challengers were the two Rebellion Racing cars which finished 12 laps back.