Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Porsche wins at Le Mans in dramatic final moments; Bourdais wins GT class

LE MANS, France — Porsche defended its title in dramatic fashion Sunday at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after Toyota relinquished the lead minutes from the end.

Toyota was a lap from its first Le Mans victory until the No. 5 TS050 Hybrid, with Kazuki Nakajima driving, lost power and halted on the pit straight. Neel Jani took the lead and drove the Porsche No. 2 LMP1 to victory.

St. Petersburg resident and Le Mans native Sebastien Bourdais was on the winning team in the Le Mans GTE Pro class, driving for Chip Ganassi's four-car effort. The Ford GT driven by Bourdais, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller finished 18th overall.

Nakajima crossed the line second, but his final lap of nearly 12 minutes was so slow that the car's result was not classified, so Toyota's No. 6 car took second place and Audi third.

"I feel heartbroken for the Toyota drivers. I think every racing driver knows how this feels like," Jani said. "I still have no words to describe winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is really surreal."

Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb were the other winning drivers for No. 2 Porsche.

The Nissan of Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Stephane Richelmi won the LMP2 class and was fifth overall. TV analyst and part-time driver Townsend Bell was on the winning LMGTE Am team with William Sweedler and Jeffrey Segal in a Ferrari, finishing 26th overall.

Special day for Hornish

NEWTON, Iowa — Sam Hornish won three IndyCar championships and an Indianapolis 500 before fading into obscurity as a NASCAR driver. So Sunday's victory will rank among the most memorable moments of his career.

Six days after accepting an offer to race for the first time in 2016 in the No. 18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hornish led 183 of 250 laps to win the NASCAR Xfinity series race. Hornish picked up his first win in two years, also at Iowa Speedway's 0.875-mile oval. But Sunday's American Ethanol 250 was the first time Hornish's three children were able to see him win, fittingly on Father's Day.

"I can't tell you what this means to me. I worked so hard to try to get a win when I had my kids here," said Hornish, who was called out of semi-retirement on Monday and asked to fill in for developmental driver Matt Tifft, who was dealing with a back issue.

Formula One: Nico Rosberg won the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, to extend his points lead. Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton was fifth and fell 24 points behind Rosberg.

NHRA: Tommy Johnson Jr. earned his first Funny Car victory this season, beating Matt Hagan in the final of the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. Shawn Langdon won in Top Fuel, and points leader Jason Line topped Pro Stock.

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