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Porsche AG Team Manthey: Lieb, Lietz, Dumas

Race report

Porsche AG Team Manthey: Lieb, Lietz, Dumas
FIA World Endurance Championship, round 3, Le Mans 24 Hours/France, Race report
Porsche leads both GT classes in Le Mans

The grand final at the Le Mans 24 Hours has begun: With three hours to go until the chequered flag, Porsche leads both GT classes at the world’s most famous long distance race. The new Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 92, fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey, lies at the front of the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class after 21 hours. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the customer team IMSA Performance Matmut leads the GTE-Am with a one-lap advantage.

Sharing driving duties in the front-running Porsche 911 RSR are Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas (France), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria). Their factory pilot colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) are also on course for a podium spot in third at the wheel of the second 911 RSR with the starting number 91. In the 911 GT3 RSR, the clear leader in the GTE-Am class is Frenchman Jean-Karl Vernay, who Porsche supports this season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, sharing the cockpit with his compatriots Raymond Narac and Christophe Bourret. Sitting fourth in this class is Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy”), who is one of an all-American driver trio for the Dempsey Del Piero-Proton team with Porsche works driver Patrick Long and Joe Foster.

Driver quotes

Timo Bernhard (# 91): “The conditions have been very difficult for the whole week. That’s why we’ve seen a lot of accidents. It’s drizzling on and off. The marshals are very good and wave the flags if it’s slippery, but of course they can’t really estimate exactly how slick the track surface is. One driver is somewhat more cautious in such situations, the other takes more risks and trusts that all goes well. One problem is the many safety car phases that arise from this. The tyres lose temperature during these slower laps and afterwards you have to first get a feel for how much grip there is. We’re fast the whole time and I hope that we now have a little luck on our side. A podium result would be wonderful.”
Richard Lietz (# 92): “The car has run well. Everything was okay. We replaced the brakes during my stint. It was clear from the outset that this would routinely happen, the same applies to our opponents. In this respect we can look forward to an interesting final phase.”
Pascal Gibon (#76): “It’s like a curse: I’m scarcely out two, three laps and the safety car comes out. But maybe that’s good for the team. Jean-Karl and Raymond are faster than me. When I drive my stints during the safety car phases we don’t lose as much time and hopefully we can maintain our position at the front until the end.”
Patrick Dempsey (#77): “Especially the first part of my double stint was very good, very solid. I simply feel comfortable in this car. The performance is incredible. We are still on track for a podium spot. That would be a fantastic result.”

Positions after 21 hours

GTE-Pro class
1. Dumas/Lieb/Lietz (F/D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 273 laps
2. Dumbreck/Mücke/Turner (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin, 273
3. Bergmeister/Bernhard/Pilet (D/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 273
4. Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander (MC/J/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, 271
5. Gavin/Milner/Westbrook /GB/USA/GB), Chevrolet Corvette, 270

GTE-Am class
1. Narrac/Bourret/Vernay (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 265 laps
2. Perazzini/Case/O’Young (I/I/CDN), Ferrari 458 Italia, 264
3. Gerber/Griffin/Cioci (ZA/IRL/I), Ferrari 458 Italia, 264
4. Dempsey/Long/Foster (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 264
6. Henzler/Gibon/Milesi (D/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2261
8. Collard/Perrod/Crubile (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 259
9. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 258