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Toyota changes driver lineup for 24 Hours of Le Mans

Kyodo

Toyota announced a shakeup in its driver lineup for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 17-18, reuniting the three who finished second last year.

Stephane Sarrazin will return to the No. 7 car to share the driving duties with Kamui Kobayashi and his co-driver Mike Conway, replacing Jose Maria Lopez who has had little time behind the wheel due to an injury suffered in an early-season crash.

The driver’s championship-leading trio of Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi will continue to share the No. 8 car. The three will try their luck again after a mechanical issue robbed them of the win in the final moments of last year’s race.

Lopez will join up with Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre in Toyota’s third car, a one-off entry in the Le Mans round of the World Endurance Championship.

Toyota GAZOO racing team president Toshio Sato said Lopez’s injury forced the decision.

“(Lopez) is in the unfortunate position of having completed very few racing laps this year in WEC, so we all felt it was appropriate to adjust the driver line-up,” Sato said in a statement.

“I am very confident that Stephane (Sarrazin) will fit well into a No. 7 lineup which can fight for the win.”