in Nürburgring 24 Hour Race
The renowned Nürburgring 24 hour motor race in Germany has ended with a triple victory for Porsche.
Driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the Manthey Racing team, ‘works’ factory drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France), Marc Lieb (Germany) as well as Manthey pilot Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) turned one faultless lap after the other in front of 220,000 fans and left 215 opponents behind them.
At the chequered flag, they held a one lap advantage over the second-placed 911 GT3-MR run by Manthey Racing piloted by Armin Hahne (Monaco), Christian Haarmann (Germany), Jochen Krumbach (Germany) and Pierre Kaffer (Germany). In third place was the Porsche 911 GT3 of Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz, Dr. Edgar Althoff and Kenneth Heyer (all Germany).
At the beginning of the race it did not look as though the Manthey Porsche with starting number one would secure another win. Just several metres after the start, the vehicle of pole-sitter Marc Lieb began to lose water from the cooling system. Through the ensuing repairs the team lost 16 minutes. “It was mentally very demanding to have to close this huge gap. So that’s why this victory is the greatest moment of my career,” said a jubilant Marc Lieb. “For the first twelve hours we all drove at the absolute limit and, mainly in the night on the wet track, we managed to knock off 40 seconds per lap to the leader,” confirmed Romain Dumas, who took home his second overall victory at his second outing in the ‘marathon of the Eifel Mountains’.
For Bernhard and Tiemann, this marked the third time in a row that they climbed to the top of the podium. “Winning the Sebring 12 hour race, and now this hat-trick on the Nürburgring, is absolutely crazy and means a great deal to me,” said a thrilled Timo Bernhard. “Even though it didn’t look like it in the second half of the race – this was my hardest fought victory by now,” added Marcel Tiemann.
Only in the final phase could team principal Olaf Manthey tell his drivers to ease off. The gap of over three laps to the team mates in the second-placed Porsche even left time to refill gearbox lubricant 45 minutes before the flag and gave enough time to re-check many of the vehicle’s components.
Romain Dumas brought the car over the finish line. “This hat-trick is the crowning achievement of my career as a team boss,” said Olaf Manthey.
Head of Porsche Motorsport Hartmut Kristen was also extremely satisfied: “Our teams have again shown that speed and durability are the keys to success at a 24 hour race. Proof that the Porsche 911 is simply the best sports car in the world.”
The second-placed 911 GT3-MR, the winning car of the 2006 24 hour race, also turned its laps without any problems. “We only changed the tyres and refuelled,” said a delighted Pierre Kaffer after securing his best result in the event.
Klaus Abbelen enjoyed the hearty congratulations of his team for the remaining podium spot. “Third place is another highlight in my career,” said Sabine Schmitz.
In the best-placed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Frank Kräling (Germany), Marc Gindorf (Switzerland), Peter Scharmach (New Zealand) and UPS-Porsche junior Martin Ragginger (Austria) claimed fifth overall. A total of eight Porsche cars finished in the top ten.
Overall result of the 2008 Nürburgring 24 hour race
1. Bernhard/Dumas/Lieb/Tiemann, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 148 laps2. Hahne/Haarmann/Krumbach/Kaffer, Porsche 911 GT3-MR, 147 laps3. Schmitz/Abbelen/Dr. Althoff/Heyer, Porsche 911 GT3, 145 laps4. Hartung/Neuberger/Engstler, BMW Z4 M, 144 laps5. Kräling/Gindorf/Scharmach/Ragginger, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 144 laps6. Scheid/Kainz/Teichmann/Klasen, BMW M3 GTS, 143 laps7. Schmidt-Staade/Müller/Riemer/Scholze, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 141 laps8. Lambrecht/Helmroulle/Arnold, Porsche 911 GT3, 141 laps9. Peters/Karlsson/Plesse/Kohler, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 140 laps10. Matveev/Gorban/Gryazin/Tsarev, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 139 laps