Lopez found the 8H Portimao challenging with over 4 hours driving time

Jose Maria Lopez, #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing, found the 8 Hours of Portimao race a challenging pursuit after finishing in P2 from the sister car.

Jose Maria Lopez took the final stint of the day in the #7 to secure second position with teammates Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.

The #7 battled with the #36 Alpine Elf Matmut during the heart of the race but were overtaken by the Alpine.

Lopez said after the race: “Eight hours here with the traffic is a tough race and I did over four hours in the car so it was a hard day.

“I am happy with the job that we did as a team to get the 1-2.

“We didn’t have the one-lap pace this week because Alpine was quicker, but with teamwork and efficiency we bounced back and took an important result for the team.

“On our car, I am very happy with the job of the engineers, pit crew, Mike, Kamui and myself.

“We were leading comfortably before the safety car, but that changed things. We had the pace today but it wasn’t to be.”

8H Portimao: Toyota wins 1-2 in 100th sportscar race as JOTA fight 1-2 to the finish

They needed to pursue an extra fuel stop, therefore lost out strategically despite the quicker pace against Toyotas.

In the hands of Kamui Kobayashi, the car had a close call almost approaching the five-hour mark only just braking for the pit lane speed limit.

In the final half-hour, internal team orders switched the order for Sebastien Buemi to take the lead off Lopez, which was followed by a switch-back between the duo, before another immediate change.

The Argentine was faster during the first stints of the final hour, but Buemi soon surpassed Lopez’s pace.

As reigning driver’s champions, the trio will be keen to chase the lead of the championship in Monza, after a second-place finish at the opening round at Spa.