'Right now, I don't like Le Mans' - Kamui Kobayashi
The #7 Toyota trio of Kamui Kobayashi, Jose-Maria Lopez and Mike Conway suffered a dramatic defeat in yesterday's 24 Hours of Le Mans after their Toyota TS050 Hybrid suffered a pair of late race punctures.
These punctures handed the race lead to the #8 sister car of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. The 2018 winners would not lose the lead, taking the victory away from the trio that had led for the vast majority of the race.
In the post-race press conference, the #7's drivers explained how losing the race had felt.
"Right now, I don’t like Le Mans," Kobayashi said. "For the moment. Sebastien tried six times and won two times. This is my fourth one, so maybe the next one is our chance. Maybe."
"We will never give up, but for the moment, as you know, I think we tried our best.
"I tried really hard to win this race and it looked good for 23 hours and we lost it. It’s hard to take it. But this is life, this is racing, I know. We need to work again for the next year, and come back stronger.¨
Despite his disillusionment, Kobayashi was able to take some positives from the defeat.
"When you’re racing in the middle of the night, with 61 cars, it’s a jungle. Congratulations to everybody to finish the race without any injury. I think this is the most important part."
Kobayashi's team-mate Jose-Maria Lopez was behind the wheel of the car when the late-race drama struck. The Argentinian explained what he experienced in the race's penultimate hour.
"Honestly, I can’t tell much about what happened. We need to analyze," Lopez said. "The only thing I know is that we kept a set of tyres for the end, to make it safer, and I stopped and changed it. I was taking care, not touching kerbs and after half a lap I got a message that we got a puncture, so I came in."
"We changed one tyre, and then I still had a puncture. 0,5 bar, so I couldn’t go above 100 kph. 13 kilometers, it’s a long lap. I tried as hard as I could to push out there, but it was too late in the race too come back."