Porsche's Tandy, Bamber, Hulkenberg win Le Mans

Porsche's Tandy, Bamber, Hulkenberg win Le Mans

14th Jun 2015 6:52 pm

The #19 919 Hybrid moved to prominence through the night, after it lost some ground during an early safety car period.

Porsche took its first overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours since 1998, with Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber leading a one-two.

The #19 919 Hybrid moved to prominence through the night, with stints from Hulkenberg and Tandy hauling it back into contention after it lost some ground during an early safety car period.

Bamber then picked up the mantle in the early hours of the morning, and as Sunday progressed any threat from Audi behind crumbled as all three of its cars required unscheduled pitstops.

All that was left after that was for Porsche to nurse its #19 and #17 home to a one-two finish, including taking care during a light rainshower in the final 10 minutes.

The third-placed #7 Audi, which was in the thick of the lead battle with the #19 Porsche through the night, slipped back when it lost a chunk of its bodywork, and it would later require further unscheduled stops for an oil top up and further checks to the engine cover.

That left the #9 Audi leading the chase of the #19 and #17 Porsches that assumed the top two places, but that car's challenge ended when it spent nearly 20 minutes in the garage to have a front driveshaft changed.

The problems for the other two Audis weren't enough for the #8 car - which was crashed early in the race when Loic Duval tried to avoid a clutch of GT cars approaching a slow one - to get ahead, as it had to make an unscheduled stop of its own for a change of engine cover, losing two minutes.

The #17 Porsche was in the lead fight in the first part of the race, but it fell out of direct contention after Mark Webber was forced to serve a one-minute penalty due to a yellow flag infringement by Brendon Hartley in a previous stint.

The third Porsche - which started on pole courtesy of Neel Jani, dropped down the order when Romain Dumas and Jani both committed the same error in consecutive stints - locking up and gently hitting the tyre wall head-on at Mulsanne corner in the night.

Both incidents required a change of front bodywork, and in the case of Jani the delays were longer because he got the #18 car stuck in the gravel when trying to reverse back onto the track.

The long stop for the #9 Audi on Sunday morning allowed a Toyota into the top six, after the Japanese marque's two cars spent the majority of the race running a distant seventh and eighth.

It was the #2 car of Alex Wurz, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin that capitalised, with the #1 entry too far back after Anthony Davidson damaged the car colliding with traffic and then hitting the wall on Saturday evening.

Further back in the field there was no repeat of Rebellion Racing's fourth-place heroics from 2014, with its cars finishing 18th and 24th overall, both still running at the finish.

The privateer team at least claimed the scalp of Nissan, which persevered with its troublesome radical GT-R LM NISMOs throughout the race, eventually getting the #22 machine to the chequered flag.

That car had been the most competitive in the early hours of the race, but through the night all three Nissans made regular visits to the pit garages.

The #21 car was the first to fall when a suspension failure left it stranded on track, while a gearbox failure forced Jann Mardenborough to stop the #23 entry on Sunday afternoon.

- Glenn Freeman

LMP2

KCMG turned pole position into a dominant maiden LMP2 victory at Le Mans, despite several scares.

The line-up of Nicolas Lapierre, Richard Bradley and Matt Howson led the class at the end of every hour and at one stage had a lap on the entire field.

However two Sunday incidents threatened to rain on its parade - the first when the ORECA 05 stopped on-track for two minutes due to a mechanical gremlin, the other when Lapierre fell off the road at Indianapolis during the 22nd hour.

They managed the rest of the race accordingly, and Bradley crossed the line to secure a 50-second victory.

TDS Racing had been KCMG's closest challenger for the first half of the race, especially when Tristian Gommendy was behind the wheel.

Their campaign ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, though, when Gommendy was collected by the #99 GTE Aston of Fernando Rees.

Sam Bird led G-Drive (OAK) Racing's campaign and kept KCMG honest on Sunday, until he was passed during the penultimate hour by Oliver Turvey in the Jota Sport Gibson.

Jota's race, like in 2014, started in auspicious circumstances, losing two laps in the first hour with a gearshift problem, but Turvey, Mitch Evans and Simon Dolan persevered to reach the podium.

The second G-Drive entry took fourth, ahead of Murphy Prototypes and SMP Racing's BRE-Nissan BR01.

- Mitchell Adam

GTE

Corvette's lone entry prevailed in an attrition-hit GTE Pro race, in which every other car hit mechanical trouble.

A qualifying crash forced the withdrawal of the #63 C7.R, but Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor picked up the baton in the #64.

An early pitstop delay for the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage and a dramatic fire for the #92 Manthey Porsche 911 RSR set the tone, and Corvette was left to duel with the two remaining AMR cars and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari for victory.

Two Astons became none overnight. The #97 Aston was first of the leaders to go, suffering an engine failure not long after night fell, and the #99 fell in the early hours of the morning when Fernando Rees crashed into an LMP2 car.

With Porsche's remaining #91 911 dropping out of contention with a gearbox leak in the 21st hour, Corvette and Ferrari were left in a straight fight for the win.

Gianmaria Bruni hit the front with two hours to go but a gearbox problem consigned the 458 Italia to a 30-minute stay in the pits and dropped it to third.

It meant Gavin had a clean run in the last hour and a half to end up five laps clear of the #71 Ferrari of James Calado, Davide Rigon and Olivier Beretta, which was out of victory contention early on when it lost four laps to get the alternator replaced.

The #95 Aston recovered to fourth, behind the #51 Ferrari but ahead of the #91 Porsche and #99 Aston.

It looked as though Aston's reprieve would come via GTE Am, where a dominant performance from the #98 Vantage was less than an hour away from a deserved victory.

That was until Paul Dalla Lana ploughed into the tyre wall after spearing left on the entry to the Ford chicane in a bizarre incident that ended the Aston's race immediately.

That opened the door for the Victor Shaitar/Andrea Bertolini/Aleksey Basov #72 SMP Ferrari to come through to win, despite being briefly beached in the gravel on Sunday morning when Shaitar went straight on at Indianpolis.

The 458 Italia won by two laps from the Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR and the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.

- Scott Mitchell

POSITIONS AFTER 24 HOURS

PosClassCarDriversLapsGap
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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