Manthey makes it three in a row
Despite a "safety" stop for the No. 1 Porsche, who took advantage of their big lead to avoid any risks and wait for the finish, the last hours of the 24 Hours of the N?rburgring didn't have any surprises for the Manthey team, who have now completed the hattrick at the famed event.
Although the start was anything but boring for the 997 GT3-RSR, who fell victim to a coolant leak before the first corner, the drivers, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Marcel Tiemann put in a stunning drive to make up the 15 minute deficit and by halfway, regain the lead, never to let go. Quick and consistent, they were the only favorites to confirm their status.
Team boss Olaf Manthey summed it up.
"This hat-trick of victories is the crowning glory of my career as a team boss," he said.
Apart from the winners, the top ten is a relatively surprising one, with the main protagonists having succombed to the tricky Nordschleife.
For Manthey, it's a double triumph, and for Porsche, it's a podium shutout with the Manthey No. 23 driven by Hahne/Haarmann/Krumbach/Kaffer coming home second and the No. 121 Porsche of Schmitz/Abbelen/Althoff taking the third step on the podium.
Sabine Schmitz became the first women to be on the 24 Hours of the N?rburgring podium.
"The important thing was how consistently we performed over the whole 24 hours," said the local driver. "This third place is another high point in my career and means a lot to me."
If Zakspeed, with their Viper, or Aston Martin Racing, with their DBRS9, both bowed out of the race relatively early, BMW stayed a valiant adversary to the army of Porsches. After the No. 5 Schubert Motorsport Z4 spent several hours in the top three until a crash late night crash, the ORMS Racing No. 64 machine kept the Bavarian marque's flag flying, finishing just outside the podium. Manthey Racing placed another car in the top five, the No. 26 Porsche crossing the line in fifth, ahead of the Scuderia Augustusburg BMW M3 who had a consistent run. And proof of a hard-fought race, these three finished on the same lap.
The BMW 320d of Schuber Motorsport spent many hours in the top ten, but in the 21st hour, was involved in an off-course excursion, dropping them to 13th, unfortunately not a very representative result, considering their impressive showing during most of the race.
The diesel BMW's misfortunates allowed the No. 45 AGON Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup to take seventh, with et another Manthey Racing prepared Porsche, this time the No. 25, coming home eighth. Two more Porsches complete the top ten, the No. 46 sister AGON Motorsport GT3 Cup, and the No. 33 Land Motorsport machine.
For their much anticipated debut, even before hitting showrooms, the Volkswagen Sciroccos didn't disappoint with 11th and 14th overall, and most importantly a 1-2 finish in their category over Opels and Audis. The No. 118 of Johansson/Gruber/Mutsch/Verbist finish the day with two laps advantage over the No. 117 of Sainz/De Villiers/Depping/St?ck. "We gave the Volkswagen Scirocco a really fantastic debut with the class victory," Stuck said after the race. "It was an extraordinary experience shared with extraordinary team-mates. Putting in a successful performance alongside global stars such as Carlos Sainz in this amazing arena and in the world's most exacting race gave me huge pleasure."