The Porsche Team claimed a one-two result in front of a great crowd at the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the Nürburgring. The trio of Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) won the six-hour race in temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius. Right behind them the sister Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) came second. Over the weekend 62,000 people created a fantastic backdrop for the first German WEC race.
After the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s maiden victory at last year’s finale in Brazil and the recent one-two result at Le Mans in 2015, this is the third major success for the young team and the prototype’s ground-breaking hybrid technology. For the driver line-up, which includes former Formula One driver Mark Webber, it is the first and long hoped for WEC race win. With this dream result Porsche has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ world championship and is now lying 33 points ahead of Audi and 95 ahead of Toyota.
With the relatively short and twisty 5.137 kilometre long circuit and the numerous classes going at different speeds, the race was action packed with thrilling lapping and overtaking manoeuvres. The way the car of Dumas/Jani/Lieb finished second was full of stories. After starting from pole, they lost the lead in the first half of the race because of long stop-and-go penalties after a technical problem. While the team usually changed drivers at every fuel stop at the Nürburgring, Neel Jani stayed in the car for 76 laps, which was two and a half stints. It was also Jani who recorded the fastest race lap at the Nürburgring with a time of 1:37.955 minutes.
Timo started from P2 behind the sister car. During a “Full Course Yellow” he lost around ten seconds because of slow lapped cars between him and the leading car. Later a damaged nose cone disturbed the aero, which is why the team decided to stop early. After 24 laps Timo handed over to Mark, who continued with a new front. Eventually having dropped back to P6, Mark overtook the number 7 Audi on lap 40 to be second again behind the sister car. After 56 laps Mark handed over to Brendon, who took the lead on lap 64 when car number 18 was penalised. After 89 laps Timo took over the leading car to hand it to Mark again after 123 laps. During a Full Course Yellow after 144 laps Brendon jumped in again. After 175 laps Mark took over for the final stint and brought the car home to take the victory.
Neel defended pole position against the sister car. After 31 laps he handed over to Marc, when leading by over a minute. After 54 laps Marc received the first of, in the end, three stop&go penalties for the number 18 car. The first is five seconds. When he resumed in the race he fought hard against Mark in the sister car and defended the lead. After 63 laps Romain got behind the wheel, and was in P2. But after 78 laps he was given a 30 second stop&go, followed by a 60 second stop&go after 82 laps. The reason was a problem with an engine sensor, which caused the car to use more fuel per lap than the regulations allowed.
After 96 laps Neel got back into the car in fourth. He did a double stint, picking up fuel and tyres after 129 laps. When the next full course yellow happened he drove even longer, because he pitted for fuel after only 144 laps. After he overtook the number 8 Audi he was lying third. From lap 167 onwards he was in a breath-taking battle with both Audis. After 172 laps, Neel pitted with the car lying third. Marc took over for the final 45 minutes and improved to second place.
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “For us the race was a bit of a roller coaster. With the number 17 car we had damage early on, but kept clean after that. The number 18 car had to come in three times for a stop&go penalty. Because of a technical problem we had exceeded the energy limit we are allowed. But the drivers never gave up and fought back. Our pit crew was, once again, set benchmark by doing the fastest stops. I also want to thank our tyre partner Michelin for a great cooperation, which played an important role in today’s achievement, especially in regard to the high temperatures.”
After four straight wins in the USA and Canada, Porsche has now made the breakthrough in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC. At the premiere of the popular race series on the Nürburgring, the Porsche Manthey squad scored its first victory this season in the GTE-Pro class on Sunday. With the 470 hp 911 RSR, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) finished first ahead of their French team colleagues Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet. For Porsche, this marks the first one-two in the WEC since November 2014, when two 911 RSR finished at the front in Shanghai. Richard Lietz is the new leader of the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers.
Glorious summer weather in Germany’s Eifel region and 62,000 spectators over the race weekend – everything fit perfectly at the first appearance of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship in Germany. The squad under team boss Olaf Manthey, who lives just a stone’s throw from the Nürburgring in Meuspath, notched up its long-awaited first victory of the season of all places at the team’s home race after scoring second place at both Silverstone and Spa. This has put the team in a good position for the second half of the season with four races abroad, the first of which is contested in Austin/USA on 19 September.
Just 23 minutes into the six-hour event on the storied race track, Michael Christensen had already moved up to take the lead after starting from fourth in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR. From then on, the Dane and his Austrian teammate led the field over the entire distance, with the exception of several pit stops.
For the number 92 Porsche 911 RSR, the race did not run quite as smoothly initially: Due to an alleged jump start, Frédéric Makowiecki received a stop-and-go penalty and was relegated to the back of the field. But with a spectacular pursuit through the field, he and Patrick Pilet made up ground. Midway through the race, the pair went head-to-head with the fastest Ferrari over many laps, with spectators in the grandstands giving them special applause for their gripping performance.
Almost halfway through the race the order was then one-two for Porsche: Richard Lietz in front of Patrick Pilet – with the rest of their rivals already one lap down at this stage. Despite another stop-and-go penalty for the #92 vehicle, the Porsche triumph remained unchallenged for the rest of the race.
In the GTE-Am class, Hollywood star and race driver Patrick Dempsey (USA) netted fourth place with teammates Patrick Long (USA) and Marco Seefried (Austria). The 911 RSR campaigned by the Dempsey Proton Racing customer team – with which the trio celebrated their greatest success to date claiming second at this year’s Le Mans 24 hour race – was even running in the lead over long stretches. In the closing laps, however, it proved not quite enough for a podium finish.
Porsche works driver Earl Bamber (New Zealand) also held the top spot for a long time in the 911 RSR fielded by Abu Dhabi Proton Racing. The Le Mans winner at times turned faster laps than the higher GTE-Pro class contenders. Nevertheless, he and his teammates Christian Ried (Germany) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi) had to settle for sixth place at the flag.
As a guest starter in the KCMG team from Hong Kong, Porsche works driver and Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain) won the LMP2 class.
1. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 203 laps
2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 1 lap behind
3. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/D/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1 lap
4. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BRA/F/GB), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1 lap
5. Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (GB/CH/J), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 3 laps
6. Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway (A/F/GB), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 4 laps
FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), after 4 out of 8 rounds
1. Lotterer/Tréluyer/Fässler (D/F/CH), Audi, 95
2. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche 78
3. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche, 76
4. Tandy (GB), Porsche & Oreca, 66
5. Bamber/Hülkenberg (NZ/D), Porsche, 58
6. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BRA/F/GB), Audi, 52
1. Porsche 184
2. Audi 151
3. Toyota, 89
1. Lietz/Christensen (A/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 176 laps
2. Pilet/Makowiecki (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 175
3. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 175
4. Sörensen/Nygaard (DK/DK), Aston Martin, 175
5. MacDowall/Stanaway/Rees (GB/NZ/BRA), Aston Martin, 174
6. Turner/Mücke/Adam (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin, 173
7. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 168
1. Bertolini/Shaytar/Basov (I/RUS/RUS), Ferrari F458 Italia, 173 laps
2. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin, 172
3. Perrodo/Collard/Aguas (F/F/P), Ferrari F458 Italia, 172
4. Dempsey/Long/Seefried (USA/USA/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 172
5. Roda/Ruberti/Poulsen (I/I/DK), Chevrolet Corvette, 171
6. Ried/Bamber/Al Qubaisi (D/NZ/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, 170
7. Castellacci/Goethe/Hall (I/D/GB), Aston Martin, 169