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Toyota says Ferrari held again by driver inconsistency at WEC Fuji

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The Japanese marque’s technical director Pascal Vasselon made the remark after wrapping up the 2023 producers’ title with a 1-2 end on dwelling turf, having overcome a stiff problem from Porsche.

In contrast, the 2 Ferrari 499Ps completed a lap down in fourth and fifth on what was the Prancing Horse’s least aggressive displaying because it stepped as much as the highest class of the WEC this 12 months.

Vasselon pointed to the tempo Antonio Fuoco was capable of present within the #50 Ferrari LMH throughout the ultimate two hours of the race, with the 27-year-old capable of move Alessandro Pier Guidi within the sister #51 automobile after which stretch out a 21-second benefit en path to fourth.

PLUS: How Porsche ensured Toyota’s WEC homecoming was anything but straightforward

“If you happen to take a look at the laptimes, we’re speaking one or two tenths [between the manufacturers],” Vasselon instructed reporters post-race. “On the most effective 60 % of laps we’re inside two tenths of Porsche.

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“And in case you take a look at Ferrari, Fuoco was actually aggressive. The primary stint of Fuoco [was impressive]. 

“So I feel at Ferrari, they’ve just a little little bit of an issue with the extent of drivers as a result of Fuoco was clearly aggressive. I’d suppose now we have extra constant drivers.”

The Fuji consequence leaves Ferrari’s hopes of profitable the drivers’ title hanging by a thread, with the #51 crew of Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi now 31 factors adrift of the main #8 Toyota trio with solely 39 factors on provide within the Bahrain season finale.

Fuoco and his team-mates within the #50 automobile, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina, are an extra 5 factors behind in fourth.

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photograph by: Andy Chan

Toyota driver/staff principal Kamui Kobayashi echoed the remarks made by Vasselon, emphasising the necessity for drivers to adapt to altering situations at Fuji following two days of follow and qualifying affected by rain.

“This was a race the place the drivers needed to tweak the steadiness as a way to make the tyres final by adjusting the brakes and controlling the engine to swimsuit their very own driving type,” defined Kobayashi, who took victory within the #7 Toyota alongside Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez

“From that facet, the important thing to the consequence was adapting rapidly. We now have a bonus with our expertise, and our drivers are ready to do this. 

“It wasn’t like Ferrari was sluggish the complete time. That they had some quick stints, and if it’s important to say why, it is as a result of the drivers that would adapt had been quick. 

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“At Toyota, each driver can do that. I feel that is a product of all our years of expertise.”

Whereas Vasselon confused that each one six of Toyota’s drivers have been acting at roughly the identical degree all through the season, he felt that each Kobayashi and Ryo Hirakawa loved a bonus at Fuji attributable to their in depth information of the observe, having already raced there twice this season in Tremendous Components.

Kobayashi impressed in qualifying by taking pole by six tenths after which took the #7 crew to victory by 39 seconds following a charging ultimate stint through which he handed the sister automobile of Brendon Hartley for the lead.

Hirakawa, in the meantime, was answerable for placing Toyota forward of Porsche within the first place, passing the 963 of Kevin Estre on the finish of the fourth hour. He had been let by means of by Jose Maria Lopez after the Argentine spent the most effective a part of an hour looking for a well beyond the Porsche ace.

Podium: #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Podium: #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“I feel it is the particular ‘Kamui impact’,” Vasselon stated when requested concerning the #7 automobile’s late tempo, repeating what he said after the ex-Formula 1 driver scored pole on Saturday. “We see that he’s one step above the opposite drivers. 

“Right here, we see clearly that the blokes who’re used to racing listed below are one step above. Have a look at Ryo, how he handed Estre in two laps.

“When Jose, who is totally a high driver, was not discovering a spot, Ryo did in two laps.

“It is a observe that’s technically fairly tough and the blokes who’re used to driving [there] have one thing on high of the others.”

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