Before the No. 88 Porsche tragically became the first retirement of the race, the No. 9 Toyota gave us this perfect moment of cross-team zen. Driver Nico Lapierre channeled his inner Jari-Matti Latvala to ride over some bumps for an insane pass around the outside to get around a herd of slower GT cars.
Lapierre goes over a very washboard-like surface at the edge of the road, momentarily catching a little air. This was on a section of the Circuit de la Sarthe that is used as a public road during the other times of the year, and Lapierre went over what would have normally acted as a shoulder for the road.
Mind you, this is in a Le Mans prototype with much stiffer suspension than Toyota’s ultra-tough Yaris Word Rally Championship cars, and it really isn’t built for sweet jumps. It’s held up wonderfully, though, not needing any replacement so far.
Hilariously, the No. 9 has been running the slowest of all three Toyotas, almost acting like it’s their contingency plan should the faster No. 7 or No. 8 cars crash out. It’s been cranking out the laps, currently sitting fifth out of the five LMP1-H cars, but still on the lead lap with everybody else.
As much as I love high-tech LMP1s, I would give my left ovary to see the Yaris WRC car run this race for fun. Think of the body roll from that compliant rally suspension leaning in the curves! I’d giggle every time it went by.