June 11, 2018 / 5:41 AM / 9 months ago

Motor racing: Alonso heads to Le Mans hoping for a better weekend

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso headed to Le Mans on Sunday hoping for a much better 24 hours in France next weekend than anything Canada could offer him in his milestone 300th Formula One grand prix.

Formula One F1 - Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada - June 10, 2018 McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in action during the race REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The double world champion retired his McLaren for the second race in a row while he had been running in a points-scoring position.

Without a Formula One victory in five years, and with a team that have not won since 2012 and are still struggling to get anywhere close to their glory years, Alonso was not about to dwell much on Montreal.

“Le Mans,” the driver said when asked after Sunday’s race what he wanted to talk about.

“I’m flying tonight to Le Mans and from tomorrow it’s another experience there and hopefully a good race for us.

“We are also leading the World Endurance Championship after the race in Spa and we are definitely focused on that right now after the retirement of today.”

Alonso is driving for Toyota at Le Mans, with the Japanese marque the only major manufacturer in the top category of the French sportscar classic.

He shares a car with Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima.

The Spaniard set the fastest lap in official testing a week ago, after winning on his debut in Belgium, and will be back in the car for qualifying on Wednesday and Thursday at the Sarthe circuit.

On Sunday he had been fighting for points when an exhaust problem forced him to retire on lap 41.

“It’s sad, frustrating and I’m disappointed with this result. We weren’t competitive this weekend,” said the 36-year-old.

“We need to find more performance in the car and a way to become competitive.”

McLaren are fifth overall in the standings, and have fallen further behind fourth-placed Renault.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Peter Rutherford

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