Alonso wins third world title in Le Mans

Alonso wins third world title in Le Mans

Alonso wins third world title in Le Mans

The #7 auto rejoined the race unscathed but a minute behind its leading sister machine which cruised to a lucky win, offering a consecutive victory at Le Mans and the world title to the Buemi-Nakajima-Alonso line-up.

Positions were expected to remain set in stone in the Japanese camp but drama unfolded as the race entered its final hour when a puncture slowed Lopez on the Mulsanne straight, forcing the Argentine to hand the lead to Nakajima as he nursed his vehicle back to the pits. Instead of changing all four tires, pit wall called to replace the left-rear only which proved fatal for the team's chance to take its first overall Le Mans victory.

"The main goal this weekend was to win the championship", the Spaniard, who won his Formula One titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, told Eurosport television. "The race was not playing to us today, vehicle No.7 was quicker than us for the 24 hours, they really deserved the victory, but today the luck decided today that we would get the trophy". Today we feel extremely lucky and maybe we don't deserve it, but we take it.

Speaking after the race, the two-time Formula 1 world champion admitted the race victory was rather fortuitous and added that he hoped the team returned next year and claimed a redemption victory.

The #7 Toyota team of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez had to settle for second place for the second year running in Le Mans, as their last lingering title hopes went up in smoke. Russian entry SMP Racing finished third, with former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne part of their line-up.

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That non-hybrid vehicle finished seven laps off the pace.

Toyota remained in control throughout, with only the risk of mechanical failure or driver error to worry about in a top LMP1 category they have dominated as the sole major manufacturer. We thought there was a front right puncture; now there was one on the rear. "Sorry", team manager Rob Leupen said.

Alonso, a two-time victor of the Monaco Grand Prix, is now leaving the series and hoping to become only the second driver after the late Briton Graham Hill to complete the so-called "Triple Crown of Motorsport".

He was unable to complete the job in Indianapolis this year as he failed to qualify for the Indy 500 racing for McLaren.

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