Kazuki Nakajima and Alex Wurz have expressed their disappointment and upset at being denied a shot at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours win after a technical problem eliminated the #7 Toyota having led the majority on the race.
With Nakajima qualifying the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid on pole position, it was Wurz who led from the start, the Austrian steadily extending his lead over the competition during the early stages of the endurance race, his advantage peaking at more than two minutes having benefited from the rain and safety cars, but also show consistently good pace in the hands of all three drivers.
However, having stabilised the lead as night fell and the race entered its second-half, Nakajima would slow very suddenly just towards the end of the 14th hour.
Forced to abandon the car immediately at Arnage, the #7 car was consigned to the retirement list having suffered a serious electrical problem that reportedly resulted in a fire in the car.
A 'heart-breaking' exit for Nakajima, Wurz and Stephane Sarrazin, who had come into the race with the car to beat following a strong build-up in practice and qualifying, the Japanese driver couldn't hide his sadness at losing out on a potential win.
“It is heart-breaking. I don't know what to say. I really feel for the team and for all the people who are supporting us. I think we were doing a great race until that moment. We were leading and showing great pace. Somehow I thought maybe we could make it this time and then this happens. That's Le Mans and that's why we come here to take on the challenge. We will try again.”
Team-mate Wurz was similarly inconsolable, the Austrian taking to Twitter
, suggesting he was 'distraught' at the exit.