Porsche triumphs at 24hr Le Mans with 17th win

Porsche ended Audi’s five-year winning streak at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a one-two win on Sunday. Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, Ear...

Porsche ended Audi’s five-year winning streak at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a one-two win on Sunday. Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy took the #19 919 Hybrid and led the sister #17 car to a one-two finish, giving Porsche its 17th win overall and first since 1998.

The #19 Porsche completed 395 laps in the 83rd running of what is the oldest and most prestigious sports car endurance race, which attracted some 250,000 spectators.

Despite losing some ground during an early safety car period, Hulkenberg and Tandy managed to bring the #19 back into contention, then passed the baton to Bamber early Sunday morning. As the day progressed, the threat from Audi dissipated as all of its R8 e-tron quattro’s required unscheduled pitstops. Porsche only had to take extra care during a drizzle during the last 10 minutes, before bringing the #19 and #17 to the finish line and the one-two victory.

Throughout the night, Audi’s #7 was in the fight with #19 for the lead, but fell back when it lost rear bodywork and spent seven minutes in the garage for replacement; it would later stop again for oil top-up and engine cover checks. Audi’s #9 took over the challenge of chasing the #19 and #17 Porsche’s for the lead, but itself landed in the garage for nearly 20 minutes to have its front driveshaft changed. #7 would recover enough to finish third overall.

Audi’s third car, the #8, also faced a slew of problems. It crashed early in the race when a yellow flag caused a group of GT cars to bunch up. Driver Loic Duval, with nowhere to slow down, swerved to the side, but ended up hitting the rail and careening across the track. The car spent three minutes in the pit getting its front and rear replaced and later lost two more minutes to an unscheduled stop to change its engine cover, and it finished fourth overall.

Porsche’s #17 came close to being the victor instead, but Mark Webber had to serve a one-minute penalty after his teammate, Brendon Hartley, overtook during a yellow flag period in the sixth hour. The third Porsche, #18, finished fifth. It started from pole but slipped down the order when both Neel Jani and Romain Dumas, in consecutive stints, locked up and ‘kissed’ the tyre wall at Mulsanne corner. Both incidents required the vehicle’s front bodywork to be changed.

KCMG dominated the LMP2 class, with Richard Bradley, Matthew Howson and Nicolas Lapierre taking the new Oreca 05 Nissan from pole to victory, with hardly much threat and its barely challenged control of the lead, which was no less than one minute throughout the race.

In the GTE-Pro class, the #64 Corvette won with Jordan Taylor, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, while the GTE-Am class victory went to the #72 SMP Ferrari.

images: Yahoo!sport

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