Toyota put together an excellent performance to win its home race in Fuji and maintain its grasp on the championship. In GTE Pro, Ferrari finished one-two ahead of Porsche.
Late summer sunshine and a packed start-finish grandstand greeted the teams for the 2022 6 Hours of Fuji on Sunday. Local favourites Toyota dominated the race to take a comfortable one-two finish.
The #7 car led the race from pole and in the opening stages. A team order then allowed the #8 car to pass, giving the Buemi/Hartley/Hirakawa crew the chance to establish a lead. This they did, finishing the race around 1 minute ahead of the #7 car of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez.
A pre-race adjustment to the balance of performance meant that third position was the best that Alpine could manage overall. An extended strategic battle with the pair of Peugeots was just reward for the French crew’s efforts. However, the Alpine simply didn’t have the pace to match the works Toyotas.
Peugeot’s start to its Hypercar journey continued with the second race for the pair of 9x8s. Both managed to finish the six-hour race in Japan, although not without issue. Smoke emanated from both cars at points in the race, a faulty turbo system proving to be the issue.
Once again the LMP2 field was very closely matched, with just tenths of seconds separating the top cars for much of the race. WRT, JOTA and Prema made most of the running throughout the six hours. Victory ultimately went to Team WRT (#31), with the JOTA #38 and #28 finishing second and third respectively.
Ferrari edge Porsche in GTE Pro
The GTE Pro class was a straight-up duel between the two championship contenders: Ferrari and Porsche. The Corvette team weren’t able to quite match the leaders’ pace and finished back in fifth position.
Despite Porsche taking pole position, it was the two AF Corse Ferraris who prevailed in the race. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi secured the win just ahead of the sister #52 machine. Porsche finished around 30 seconds further back in third and fourth.
The two manufacturers go into the final race of the season in Bahrain level on points in the manufacturers’ championship.
The GTE Am class battle was a little more chaotic, throwing up some surprising results in the process. TF Sport were back on form, taking pole and the class win following the disappointment of Monza. Second for the second consecutive race was the Iron Dames Ferrari, while the #777 D’Station Aston Martin recorded its best result of the season by far – third – at the team’s home race.