The FIA WEC reconvened at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza for six hours of racing to bring an end to the European part of the 2022 season. Alpine took its second victory of the season in Monza, prevailing over Toyota, Glickenhaus and Peugeot after an intense six-hour battle at the historic circuit.
Strong challenge from Glickenhaus fades
In sweltering heat, it was Glickenhaus who made the early running. The US team were the quickest in the six-car Hypercar field and established an early lead of around a minute ahead of the chasing Toyotas and Alpine.
A huge accident involving the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin brought out the safety car, which eradicated Glickenhaus’ lead. The intervention was doubly frustrating for Jim Glickenhaus’ team, as the #708 car of Romain Dumas, Pipo Derani and Olivier Pla had received a drive-through penalty shortly beforehand for a full-course-yellow (FCY) violation.
However, the Glickenhaus challenge soon went up in smoke – quite literally, in fact. A part failed on the Glickenhaus 007 LMH’s engine and led to a disappointing early retirement.
Alpine vs Toyota, Peugeot with teething problems
The second half of the race was all about the battle between the pair of works Toyotas and Alpine. The French team were equal on pace with the works Hypercars from Toyota, but Nicolas Lapierre, Mathieu Vaxiviere and André Negrão were unable to get by and build a gap.
Then, with the Toyotas considering swapping the lead #7 car with the chasing #8 machine, the decisive moment of the race came. Battling for position on the start/finish straight, driver of the #7 Toyota Kamui Kobayashi made contact with Mathieu Vaxiviere in the Alpine and lost his right rear wheel.
With one Toyota down, all the Alpine had to do was stay ahead of the #8 car – which it just about managed to do. As Lapierre crossed the line for the #36 crew’s second win of the year, the gap to second was just 2.7 seconds. Second was the #8 Toyota, followed in third by the #7 Toyota.
Peugeot Totalenergies made its long-awaited debut in the Hypercar class with the 9×8. Issues plagued both cars throughout the race, and included numerous on-track stoppages. The #93 car completed around half of the race, while the #94 machine lapped relatively consistently before losing time towards the end of the race.
Corvette fuel-save to victory in GTE Pro
A rather processional battle in GTE Pro culminated in some pit-stop drama in the final ten minutes of the race. As is typical of the category, the cars remained in close contention for much of the six hours. In the end, it was a tactical masterstroke that won it.
The #52 AF Corse Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina led into the final hour by a handful of seconds ahead of the #64 Corvette and the #92 Porsche. Some questionable driving by Kevin Estre in the Porsche saw it be penalised by Race Control, putting it out of contention for the win.
With just minutes of the race remaining, the #52 AF Corse Ferrari pitted for its final splash and dash, handing the lead to the #64 crew. Contrary to expectations, the Corvette did not have to pit again for fuel and managed to cross the line in first position for the C8.R’s maiden WEC win.
Realteam by WRT victorious in LMP2
Realteam by WRT put their Le Mans travails behind them to secure the win in LMP2. Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato brought the #41 Oreca home in first after a close battle with the likes of JOTA.
The safety car at the halfway stage brought the field close together, with any of six or seven cars capable of winning the race. In the end it was the Realteam by WRT who kept their noses clean to bring home the team’s first win of the season.
Dempsey-Proton Racing pip Iron Dames in GTE Am
The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Harry Tincknell, Christian Ried and Seb Priaulx wrapped up its second win of the season in GTE Am after a close fight with Iron Dames.
The pole-setting #85 Iron Dames Ferrari of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy made good running in the early stages. However, some smart tactics saw the Dempsey-Proton Racing squad overtake the all-female team in the final hour to take victory.