Porsche trumps Audi in Le Mans civil war

orsche return a winning quinella at Le Mans with Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Kiwi Earl Bamber claiming sports car racing's greatest prize. pic: Ian Musson PSP Images

Porsche return a winning quinella at Le Mans with Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Kiwi Earl Bamber claiming sports car racing’s greatest prize. pic: Ian Musson PSP Images

Fielding arguably the most technically advanced racing car ever made, Porsche has managed to rekindle its winning Le Mans 24 Hour flame.

In what was a titanic arm wrestle, the #19 919 Hybrid of F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, New Zealand’s Earl Bamber and Briton Nick Tandy produced a flawless performance to take the chequered flag.

For the most part, Porsche’s 2.0 litre, four cylinder petrol engine battled Audi’s V6 diesel unit but in the closing third of the race it became an inter team battle between the Zuffenhausen marauders.

The winning 919 returns to pit lane mobbed by photographers. pic: Ian Musson PSP Images

The winning 919 returns to pit lane mobbed by photographers. pic: Ian Musson PSP Images

The highly fancied #17 Porsche driven by German Timo Bernhard, Aussie Mark Webber and New Zealander Brendon Hartley was unable to recover from its costly stop-go penalty for passing under yellow earlier in the race, settling for second.

It was an admirable fightback from the red 919 with Webber calling on his vast reserves of mental and physical resilience before falling one place short.

Hartley punched on and brought the car home after a late splash and dash.

The #7 Audi R18 quattro ended up too far out of the firing line to launch any rear guard assault, finishing a distant third.

Runners-up Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley were gallant in defeat

Runners-up Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley were gallant in defeat

Defying uncertainty over reliability, the Porsche – which has moved to the highest (8) mega joule class and uses a lighter battery – has proved that its complex hybrid system can tolerate 5372km (395 laps) of La Sarthe fury.

Even a large band of rain which arrived on the edge of the circuit inside the last 20 minutes could not derail the Porsche quinella.

It was the first win by a Kiwi since Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon’s Le Mans victory in 1966.

Porsche pulled the victory off with military precision with its squad of almost 200 members helping refine a car that harnesses the most complex and potent hybrid system in the automotive world.

It was only the third time (2003 Bentley, 2009 Peugeot) that Audi has not stood on the top step since 2000.

Two years into its mega expensive 919 Hybrid program, Porsche produced its first outright win at La Sarthe since the 911 GT-1 in 1998.

The win was a triumph for youthful talent and exuberance with Hulkenberg making his prototype and Le Mans debut and Bamber confirming his tremendous ability after a meteoric rise.

In the middle of the night Tandy put his hand up with some powerful stints, ably supported by Bamber’s transitional running in the trick dark to dawn period.

The #19’s cameo role in the World Endurance Championship’s most prized event saw it as the least fancied of the three 919 Hybrids.

Porsche’s #18 919 was classified in fifth, one position behind the #8 Audi.

Toyota had a lonely and almost invisible run with its #2 TS040 finishing in sixth ahead of the #9 Audi with the #1 Toyota in eighth.

Nissan finished with a difficult baptism with only one of its three GT-R LM machines, the #22 still running at the end but 153 laps down in 40th position.

The Hong Kong-based KCMG Oreca Nissan of Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthew Howson overcame several difficulties to win LMP2.

Kiwi GP2 Series race Mitch Evans was in the runner-up JOTA Sport LMP2 Gibson Nissan with Oliver Turvey and Simon Dolan.

A late crash by Paul Dalla Lana in the #98 Aston Martin Vantage saw Shaytar Victor bring the SMP Ferrari 458 Italia home first in GTE Am in the car he shared with fellow Russian Aleksey Basov and Italian Andrea Bertolini.

Dempsey Racing saw its #77 Porsche 911 RSR climb into second place in the GTE Am ranks, classified 22nd overall, for Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long and Marco Seefried.

The #64 Corvette Racing hovered around the pace before springing into the lead when the #51 Ferrari’s suffered major gearbox issues.

It left Oliver Gavin, Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner to pick up the GTE Pro class win.

VIDEO: Race Highlights

See full results below

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #19 Porsche Hulkenberg, Bamber, Tandy 395
2 LMP1 #17 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 394 + 1 Lap
3 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 392 + 3 Laps
4 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 392 + 2m37.663s
5 LMP1 #18 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 391 + 4 Laps
6 LMP1 #2 Toyota Wurz, Sarrazin, Conway 386 + 9 Laps
7 LMP1 #9 Audi Albuquerque, Bonanomi, Rast 386 + 2m34.118s
8 LMP1 #1 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 385 + 10 Laps
9 LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson, Bradley, Lapierre 358 + 37 Laps
10 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Evans, Turvey 357 + 38 Laps
11 LMP2 #26 Ligier Rusinov, Canal, Bird 357 + 59.522s
12 LMP2 #28 Ligier Yacaman, Derani, Gonzalez 353 + 42 Laps
13 LMP2 #48 Oreca Chandhok, Patterson, Berthon 347 + 48 Laps
14 LMP2 #27 BR Mediani, Markozov, Minassian 339 + 56 Laps
15 LMP2 #31 Ligier Brown, Van Overbeek, Fogarty 339 + 1m47.359s
16 LMP2 #45 Oreca Ibanez, Perret, Bellarosa 337 + 58 Laps
17 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 336 + 59 Laps
18 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Imperatori, Kraihamer, Abt 336 + 34.015s
19 LMP2 #29 Morgan Roussel, Tung, Cheng 334 + 61 Laps
20 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Shaytar, Bertolini, Basov 331 + 64 Laps
21 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Calado, Beretta 331 + 41.474s
22 GTE Am #77 Porsche Dempsey, Long, Seefried 330 + 65 Laps
23 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 329 + 66 Laps
24 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Beche 329 + 9.260s
25 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella 329 + 48.521s
26 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 329 + 48.766s
27 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Nygaard 329 + 1m59.286s
28 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Dalziel, Heinemeier Hansson 329 + 3m19.870s
29 LMP2 #35 Ligier Nicolet, Merlin, Maris 328 + 67 Laps
30 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Bergmeister 326 + 69 Laps
31 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mann, Giammaria, Cressoni 326 + 3m52.486s
32 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 322 + 73 Laps
33 LMP2 #37 BR Aleshin, Ladygin, Ladygin 322 + 2m10.361s
34 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 321 + 74 Laps
35 GTE Pro #99 Aston Rees, Macdowall, Stanaway 319 + 76 Laps
36 GTE Am #68 Porsche Chen, Vannelet, Parisy 319 + 5.510s
37 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Al Faisal, Giermaziak, Avenatti 319 + 8.164s
38 GTE Am #67 Porsche Chen, Kapadia, Maassen 316 + 79 Laps
39 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Kaffer, Monteiro 259 + 136 Laps
40 LMP1 #22 Nissan Tincknell, Krumm, Buncombe 241 + 154 Laps
41 LMP2 #34 Ligier Cumming, Vanthoor, Estre 329 Retired
42 GTE Am #53 Dodge Bleekemolen, Keating, Miller 304 Retired
43 LMP2 #42 Dome Leventis, Watts, Kane 264 Retired
44 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Mortimer 241 Retired
45 LMP1 #23 Nissan Pla, Mardenborough, Chilton 234 Retired
46 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Badey, Gommendy 204 Retired
47 GTE Am #96 Aston Goethe, Hall, Castellacci 187 Retired
48 LMP2 #43 Morgan Ragues, Webb, Amberg 162 Retired
49 LMP1 #21 Nissan Matsuda, Shulzhitskiy, Ordonez 115 Retired
50 LMP2 #36 Alpine Panciatici, Chatin, Capillaire 110 Retired
51 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Mucke, Bell 110 Retired
52 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Roda, Ruberti, Poulsen 94 Retired
53 LMP2 #41 Gibson Hirsch, Paletou, Lancaster 71 Retired
54 GTE Am #88 Porsche Ried, Al Qubaisi, Bachler 44 Retired
55 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Pilet, Makowiecki, Henzler 14 Retired


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