Porsche has taken a complete shock victory at the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours after Kazuki Nakajima ground to a halt in the leading #5 Toyota four minutes from the end on the home straight.

The Japanese driver reportedly lost all power in his TS050 Hybrid car on the penultimate lap, leaving him helpless to stop Neel Jani in the #2 Porsche to take a historic but dramatic victory.

In what could become one of the most famous Le Mans in history Nakajima had a comfortable two-minute gap for victory in a stroll to the line but on the penultimate lap lost power in his car and stopped on the home straight in front of thousands of fans expecting to celebrate a first Toyota victory at Le Mans.

The heartbreak was Porsche's ultimate glory as Jani duly passed the stricken Toyota and completed the final lap to claim victory and defend its manufacturer crowns - leaving the entire Circuit de la Sarthe stunned.

The shockwaves felt saw the Porsche management and drivers head over to Toyota to commiserate their rivals who have lost out on a deserved victory.

As a result of the #5 Toyota's failure sees its sister car #6 of Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi into second place with Audi scampering to a podium to keep its record of being on the rostrum at every Le Mans it has entered.

What was meant to be a historic first victory for Toyota with a flawless performance up to its spectacular penultimate lap failure doesn't tell the full story of the performance of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Nakajima.

After a thoroughly disappointing outing at Le Mans last year, where Toyota had the reliability but were way off the pace of Porsche and Audi, the Japanese manufacturer has used the 12 months in an emphatic charge to the front with the #5 Toyota taking the lead in the early morning hours.

Key to the Toyota's strategy was running one lap longer in each fuel stint against its LMP1 rivals and with an equal lap pace could manage its race to attack when necessary.

Porsche's #2 car of Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas held up the biggest resistance and where in the victory battle right until the final stops but a Toyota victory looked assured with a comfortable lead heading into the last lap.

Such was the devastation for the Japanese manufacturer, Toyota may feel a one-two result could have also been possible had the #6 car of Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi could replicate the sister car's pace in the final six hours but after fading to third Kobayashi tripped into a spin which condemned his car to miss out.

Potential pre-race favourites Audi had a nightmare race with continual mechanical problems which plagued both the #7 and #8 - with former winners Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer requiring a turbo charger change after the opening 90 minutes which effectively ended their charge before it began. #8 claimed a distant third with the #7 trailing in fourth overall.

The #1 Porsche of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley's wait for a victory as a trio also expired to mechanical failure after requiring a water pump change and spent over two-and-a-half hours in the garage for numerous issues, eventually taking 14th overall, fifth in class.

The #12 Rebellion Racing claimed the LMP1 privateer Le Mans win at a canter after its sister Rebellion retired while the ByKolles Racing CLM's race ended in a fireball.

Signatech Alpine seals LMP2 crown

The #36 Signatech Alpine trio of Nicolas Lapierre - who becomes the only repeat class winner this year - along with Le Mans rookies Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi sealed the LMP2 crown, boosted by a surprise top five overall result after Toyota's failure.

The crew eventually claimed a comfortable three-minute victory from #26 G-Drive Oreca which was only realistically out of the frame for victory in the final 20 minutes after the last pit stop.

In a fiercely competitive class which saw a host of cars lead LMP2 at some point - including ex-F1 squad and rookies Manor who eventually retired from the race - with the #37 SMP Racing BR01 made a late-race charge to take the final spot on the rostrum.

GTE-Pro
Perhaps lost in the commotion of the Le Mans finale, Ford produced the result it predicted 12 months ago when it announced its return to GT Sportscar racing. Ford Chip Ganassi's #68 car of Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais fought off tough competition from the #82 Risi Competition Ferrari but the team's second place is still under review after being handed a stop-go penalty inside the final hour of racing for displaying the incorrect signalling light.

The team did not serve the penalty, as it would have missed out on the podium altogether with the top four finishing with one lap but duly denied Ford a clean sweep of GTE-Pro podium places with the #69 Ford in third and #66 in fourth position.

#62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari dominates to GTE-Am win

A perfectly-timed charge to the front saw #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari jump ahead of #88 Abu Dhabi-Porton Racing Porsche to take victory by a whole lap while the Italian manufacturer grabs a double rostrum with #83 AF Corse Ferrari in third position.

 

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