Toyota Racing achieved an emotional runners-up finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours after a rollercoaster race which saw drivers and team overcome immense challenges.

The #8 TS030 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, S?bastien Buemi and St?phane Sarrazin finished second to the winning Audi, but there was frustration for the #7 sister car of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima, which took fourth place after running in a podium position for much of the event.

The second place equalled Toyota's best finish at Le Mans, as the TS030 HYBRID matched the results achieved by predecessors the TS010 (1992), 94C-V (1994) and TS020 (1999).

"I am very proud of our team today; we truly performed like a team and we earned this result," team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita noted, "We never gave up or lost focus, even in difficult circumstances. To get both cars to the finish and to stand on the podium was a very satisfying result.

"I will always remember the determination and team work showed by everyone after the #7 was damaged. It was very emotional for me to see this because it showed our team spirit, so I would like to say thank you to the team and also the drivers, who gave everything for us.

"Congratulations to Audi for their victory - it was great to compete with them in such an exciting race I am happy with this result, but my dream is to win Le Mans so I am determined we will come back even stronger next year."

A chaotic race featured regularly-changing weather, causing treacherous track conditions which contributed to eleven safety car periods and made driving extremely difficult for the drivers.

A day of perfect reliability for the #8 car saw it push for victory before eventually completing the 24 hours just a lap behind the winning Audi. The Toyota enjoyed a much smoother run than its sister despite the difficult circumstances, losing time only when its fuel stop window twice came during safety car periods which caused St?phane Sarrazin to be held at the end of pit lane until he could rejoin.

"It is an amazing result for the team and it's very encouraging for the future," the French veteran, who shared driving duties with Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi, commented, "We pushed really hard since last year and the team put in a huge amount of effort; they gave their maximum all the time.

"The car was just amazing this weekend. We had no problems, no reliability issue. We did our best, but Audi were just a bit quicker than us. S?bastien and Anthony did a great job in tricky conditions in which it was easy to make a mistake. We saw many crashes and unfortunately a very bad accident yesterday. Now we are just very happy about our race, our team, our mechanics and engineers. I am so happy to be part of this team; I am a lucky boy."

The #7 car, meanwhile, overcame a more turbulent 24 hours which saw it face up to several challenges, including a loss of fuel pressure early in the race, a slow in-lap to conserve fuel and two precautionary tyre changes when sensors indicated slow punctures. With just over an hour to go, it remained in a thrilling battle for third until a very heavy rain shower made track conditions virtually impossible and saw Nicolas Lapierre powerless to prevent the car sliding off the track and into the barriers.

The French driver managed to get the Toyota back to the pits, where superb work from his crew repaired the heavy front end and suspension damage within 30 minutes, allowing the crew - which also included Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima to take the chequered flag in fourth place.

"I think it is a great day for Toyota Racing to get on the podium," Lapierre reflected, despite his team missing the celebrations, "We came quite close to the victory and we can be proud about this considering our team is only 18 months old. The fact that the two cars finished the race without any major technical trouble is a big achievement.

"Unfortunately, on our car, I made a mistake which took us out of the fight for a podium. We had to push to get a third place finish and it didn't work out. We finished fourth which is a disappointment but, when I brought the car back to the garage, I was so proud of the mechanics. They did really a great job and I was emotional to go back on the track after this."



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