Porsche takes victory in Nürburgring classic

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The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Web­ber, Bren­don Hart­ley and Timo Bern­hard cross­es the line to take vic­to­ry at the Six Hours of the Nür­bur­gring

The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Web­ber, Bren­don Hart­ley and Timo Bern­hard was vic­to­ri­ous in the Six Hours of the Nür­bur­gring today after a fierce LMP1 bat­tle that swayed between the Porsches and the Aud­is for almost the entire race.

The Audi R18s cap­i­tal­ized on their front row advan­tage, but Bren­don Hart­ley soon got amongst them in the ear­ly stages of the race in his Porsche, tak­ing sec­ond and set­ting his sights on Lot­ter­er up front. The three Ger­man works cars remained close over the first cou­ple of hours, with Neel Jani the only dri­ver to put his foot wrong. A light col­li­sion with a Ford GT in the first cor­ner cost the Swiss around 20 sec­onds.

How­ev­er, just at the halfway stage, the #2 Porsche snatched the lead after Jani dived into the pits under full course yel­low con­di­tions. This oppor­tune moment to take tyres and fuel put the #2 car, now in the hands of Marc Lieb, into the race lead as the oth­er P1 machines had made their stops under green. Else­where, the #4 ByKolles CLM P1/01 suf­fered its sec­ond major mechan­i­cal prob­lem in two races, with Oliv­er Webb stop­ping on the cir­cuit just after the halfway stage and licks of flames exit­ing the car. The CLM had shown promis­ing pace through­out the ear­ly stages of the race, and indeed led through­out the first stint.

At the front, Jani returned to the car with 2.5 hours remain­ing and appeared com­fort­able, but a major inci­dent with the #88 Abu Dhabi Porsche 911 caused dam­age to the front end and, luck­i­ly for Jani, brought out a full course yel­low. With Jani receiv­ing a new front end, Mark Web­ber inher­it­ed the lead in the #1 Porsche – but Porsche Team told the Aussie to let the cham­pi­onship-lead­ing car past. How­ev­er, a dri­ve-through penal­ty for the #2 for caus­ing a col­li­sion cost Jani twen­ty sec­onds and sent the #2 car right back into the claws of the pair of Aud­is.

An unbe­liev­able bat­tle devel­oped between first­ly Jani and Loic Duval in the #8 Audi, and then Jani and André Lot­ter­er in the #7 machine for sec­ond, third and fourth posi­tions with no quar­ter asked or giv­en. With just under an hour remain­ing, Lot­ter­er closed in on the #2 Porsche and attempt­ed a num­ber of pass­es around the inside and out­side. Then, at the final chi­cane, Lot­ter­er tried once again to get by, mak­ing con­tact in the process and knock­ing off the #2 car’s legal­i­ty pan­el.

The Porsche was called into the pits by the stew­ards, who stip­u­lat­ed that the car had to be repaired before con­tin­u­ing. This cost the cham­pi­onship-lead­ing #2 car any chance of a podi­um. In the clos­ing stages the #1 Porsche held a 30 sec­onds lead over the chas­ing Aud­is, which proved to be enough to secure Mark Web­ber, Bren­don Hart­ley and Timo Bernhard’s first vic­to­ry of the sea­son.

The #36 Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine of Nico­las Lapierre, Gus­ta­vo Menezes and Stéphane Richel­mi took the hon­ours in LMP2.

The LMP2 was some­what less hec­tic by com­par­i­son, but there was major dra­ma for the pole-sit­ting #26 G-Dri­ve Rac­ing of Roman Rusi­nov, Alex Brun­dle and René Rast. By far the quick­est car in the field, the Russ­ian-entered Ore­ca had opened up a lead of around a minute by the end of the first stint with Rast behind the wheel. After hand­ing over the car to Alex Brun­dle, the Ore­ca was forced to pit with what proved to be ter­mi­nal gear­box prob­lems.

The ben­e­fi­cia­ries of G-Drive’s issues were Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine, RGR by Morand Rac­ing and Strak­ka Rac­ing, which rose to the head of the field as the race went on. The #36 car led by around 40 sec­onds at halfway, but that lead was slow­ly eat­en away at by Felipe Albu­querque and then Bruno Sen­na in the #43 car.

With the RGR car only twen­ty sec­onds behind the lead­ing Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine with one hour to go, Bruno Sen­na was set to stun. Indeed, he over­did it at the final chi­cane with just under an hour remain­ing, which gave the Sig­nat­e­ch car a rel­a­tive­ly easy run to the fin­ish and third vic­to­ry in suc­ces­sion for the French car.

In GTE Pro, James Cal­a­do and Gian­maria Bruni took the win for AF Corse.

In GTE Pro, Aston Mar­tin had made the ear­ly run­ning – with Nicky Thi­im putting in an impres­sive cou­ple of stints in the pole-sit­ting #95 machine. Nev­er far behind, how­ev­er, was the #51 AF Corse Fer­rari 488 of Gian­maria Bruni and James Cal­a­do. Indeed Bruni caught and passed Thi­im just after the halfway stage, and ulti­mate­ly pulled away to take the vic­to­ry.

The sis­ter #71 car recov­ered from ear­ly issues to take secure a AF Corse one-two. The #66 Ford GT of Ste­fan Mücke and Olivi­er Pla had been in con­tention for a podi­um, but a late dri­ve-through penal­ty saw the ear­ly leader, the #95 Aston Mar­tin pro­mot­ed into third – a posi­tion it held through to the line.

Paul Dal­la Lana, Matthias Lau­da and Pedro Lamy won the GTE Am cat­e­go­ry.

GTE Am was a sto­ry of Aston Mar­tin dom­i­na­tion, with the #98 car of Paul Dal­la Lana, Pedro Lamy and Matthias Lau­da record­ing their sec­ond vic­to­ry of the sea­son – 30 sec­onds ahead of the ear­ly pace-set­ter, the #78 KCMG Porsche 911 of Henzler/Ried/Camathias, with the #83 AF Corse Fer­rari of Perrodo/Collard/Aguas a fur­ther minute down the road.

  1. The Truth!...

    AF CORSE is far supe­ri­or with its dri­vers and its cars. The Ford GT’s has shown only to be decent at LeMans, let’s face it the Fer­rari 488 is by far the bet­ter car hav­ing won at a vari­ety of tracks…and rather hand­i­ly at that…the #51 Fer­rari will catch and pass up both of the Ford GT’s…to win the team tro­phy, con­struc­tor trophy.…and anoth­er dri­vers title for title for Bruni…who with Toni Vilan­der are the two best GT-PRO dri­vers in the world…