Fernando Alonso wins World Endurance Championship race, claims first race victory in five years


Fernando Alonso claimed his first race victory in just under five years by winning his World Endurance Championship debut at the Six Hours of Spa on Saturday.

Alonso and teammates Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi emerged victorious in the No.8 Toyota at Belgium’s iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The race was the first of the two-time world champion’s extensive WEC schedule this year which he will do alongside his Formula One duties with McLaren and will include his first attempt to win the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Alonso’s last race win came at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12, 2013 — the five-year anniversary will fall during this year’s race in Barcelona next weekend. Despite qualifying second in Spa, the No.8 car had been promoted to pole position overnight after the No.7 Toyota team was penalised for a technical infringement, giving Alonso his first pole position and front-row start since the 2012 German Grand Prix.

It also means the last two races Alonso has led have not been in Formula One; he led 27 laps of his maiden Indy 500 last year, only for a Honda engine failure to thwart his hopes late on. Alonso hopes to add Le Mans and Indy 500 victories to the two Monaco Grand Prix wins earlier in his career to become just the second man — after Graeme Hill — to claim motorsport’s unofficial Triple Crown.

Alonso, who has never won at Spa-Francorchamps in his storied F1 career, was happy with how he had performed during his stint in the car.

The weekend was overshadowed by the horror accident suffered by Pietro Fittipaldi — grandson of former world champion Emerson — during qualifying. The Brazilian lost control of his car during the high-speed Eau Rouge corner and went straight on into the barriers, sustaining two broken legs in the process. Fittipaldi successfully underwent surgery after the accident.

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