The 6 Hours of Monza – Round 3 of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship – was won by the MICHELIN Pilot Sport-equipped N°7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez. The Italian fixture was the last race before this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours on August 21-22.
After qualifying on pole position at Italy’s infamous Temple of Speed in the hands of Jose-Maria Lopez at an average speed of 217.5kph, the N°7 Toyota shared by the Argentine and his team-mates Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi went on to dominate the six-hour race and collect its first win of the season.
“The 6 Hours of Monza served as ideal preparation for Le Mans because the two high-speed circuits are not dissimilar,” reports Pierre Alves, manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing program. “We now have a lot more data in readiness for next month’s trip to Le Mans where, until now, our new Hypercar tires have only lapped on the simulator!
“At Monza, the Hypercars succeeded in double-stinting their MICHELIN Pilot Sports which lost none of their hallmark consistency as the track temperature soared to almost 50°C during the early part of the race. Toyota opted for our medium compound, whereas Alpine went for the ‘hot-weather softs’. We have also made good progress with Glickenhaus Racing who posted some promising lap times early on.”
The N°8 Toyota was delayed by a variety of mechanical issues, as were Glickenhaus’s N°708 and N°709 007 LMHs, although the latter succeeded in taking the fight to the N°36 Alpine before pitting with a third of the race remaining. As at Spa-Francorchamps and Portimao, the Michelin-shod Alpine of Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxivière came second.
There was a close scrap, too, between Ferrari and Porsche in the all-Michelin LMGTE Pro class which concluded in favor of the N°92 911 RSR of Kevin Estre and Neel Jani. The N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE had to settle for second spot, ahead of the N°91 Porsche and N°52 Ferrari.
The day’s LMGTE Am victor was the N°83 Ferrari/Michelin of Perrodo/Nielsen/Rovera which was joined on the Monza rostrum by the battling N°98 and N°777 Michelin-tired Aston Martin Vantages.
6 Hours of Monza – Final positions:
Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez (Toyota GR010 Hybrid/Michelin), 204 laps
Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxivière (Alpine A480-Gibson/Michelin), +1m0.908s
Hanson/Scherer/Albuquerque (Oreca07-Gibson), +4 laps
Dumas/Mailleux/Westbrook (Glickenhaus 007 LMH/Michelin), + 4 laps
Frijns/Habsburg/Milesi (Oreca07-Gibson), + 4 laps