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Le Mans: Toyota deny plan to ensure Alonso wins
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Le Mans: Toyota deny plan to ensure Alonso wins

Fernando Alonso

Toyota have denied they are heading into the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend with a plan to ensure Fernando Alonso wins if possible.

Favourites Toyota have never won Le Mans and because of Alonso’s fame, if his car won, it would guarantee wider coverage than their other car.

But a spokesman said: “Our cars will race for victory with the target of achieving a Toyota one-two.

“Both cars start the race with an equal and fair chance of winning.”

The two-time Formula 1 world champion shares his car at the classic endurance race in France with former Formula 1 drivers Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland and Japanese Kazuki Nakajima. The other Toyota is shared by Briton Mike Conway, a former F1 test driver for Honda, ex-F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi from Japan and Argentine Jose Maria Lopez.

Alonso’s car won the first race of the World Endurance Championship, of which Le Mans is the most high-profile race, in Belgium last month, after Toyota enforced team orders and told the other car to hold station behind.

Toyota are effectively without direct opposition at Le Mans this year because they are the only team racing in the leading LMP1 hybrid class, following the withdrawal at the end of last season of champions Porsche.

The other LMP1 cars, which are not hybrids and are run by privateer teams, have a series of handicaps laid out in the rules.

They are not allowed to lap faster the Toyotas, and if they do, they are called in to the pits for a drive-through penalty. Hybrids can do 11 laps between fuel stops and non-hybrids only 10