Mike Conway (Toyota): “We didn’t expect to win”

Victorious during the 6 Hours of Imola, the crew of the No. 7 Toyota did not expect to finish on the highest step of the podium, after a weekend dominated by the Ferraris in pure performance.

Published on 25/04/2024 à 17:56

Michael Duforest

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Mike Conway (Toyota): “We didn’t expect to win”

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La Toyota GR010 Hybrid won after six hours of racing, first in the dry then in the wet. Kamui Kobayashi, who is both driver and team manager of Toyota Gazoo Racing, had the heavy responsibility of driving the No. 7 car at the end of the race, during the downpour. Leaving the pits on slick tires, the Japanese explained how difficult it was to keep the wheels on the track!

“We managed to stay first, the conditions were very delicate. You jump in the car on slick tires, it starts to rain, and then the Safety Car shows up. And I couldn't even follow it, so I told myself that I had to change the type of rubber!

I started discussing it with my engineer, and we agreed that it was the right decision but we couldn't do it under Safety Car. So we had to do one more lap on slicks in the wet, and we managed to win afterwards. The team made good decisions on strategy, I'm very happy to have won! »

Mike conway, who took the start of this second round of the season, spoke about the reaction of the entire Toyota team once the checkered flag was crossed. It was indeed rare to see the Japanese manufacturer's teams exult in this way, a joy equal to the relief felt!

“We didn't expect to win, especially at the start of the race, and victory came to us. Not easily, we had to do everything correctly, and if you add the stress of the race... It was intense! As soon as we crossed the line, everyone was very happy, very proud, we know that it is not an easy race to win, and we did it. »

A first Hypercar victory for De Vries

To Nyck de Vries, this is his first victory in Hypercar, on his second attempt. A success that was not achieved in a simple and direct way! “I want to thank the team for the phenomenal work done. It was a very intense race at the end, I couldn't even watch it was so stressful! The race was very well executed, everyone did a good job. It's a very narrow circuit, where it's difficult to overtake, and you have to be very patient to take advantage of an opportunity. »

The Dutchman used one of these opportunities very well, during a restart following a Full Course Yellow procedure. He was thus able to exceed the Ferrari n°50 in the descent leading towards Rivazza.

“[The opportunity] didn't present itself on track, so when the Full Course Yellow arrived I tried to seize it. I quickly left and managed to pass the #50 Ferrari. It wasn't easy, but it put us in control of the race. »

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