In an amazing result of endurance racing consistency the Manthey Racing team #1 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has won the 2009 NÃ¼rburgring 24 hour race. This is the fourth consecutive win for Olaf Manthey’s team. Good weather also helped the #1 car create further history by establishing a new distance record of 155 laps for the 24 hour enduro. The previous record was 151 laps, so that’s an extra 100km plus covered by the winning car.
Finishing the race in outright second was the #97 Abt Audi R8 LMS, a cracking result for Audi’s newest racecar. It also broke the previous distance record and completed 154 laps.
Bringing home another podium for the Manthey team was the #2 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
UPDATE: Official press release from race HQ has been added below.
Manthey-Porsche celebrates record win in the 24h race
At the end of an epic battle in front of a huge crowd of 235,000 spectators, the record winners of the past three years also prevailed in the 37th edition of the ADAC Zurich 24h Race: Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Marcel Tiemann won the race with their Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the NuÌˆrburgring Nordschleife. With 155 laps completed in the â€˜Green Hellâ€™, they crossed the finish line as winners, followed by Christian Abt, Jean-Francois Hemroulle, Pierre Kaffer and Lucas Luhr who finished runner-up, with their Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS.
In a hard fought race, Team Principal Olaf Manthey celebrated his fourth consecutive win, thus adding another triumph to his unique streak of success. At the same time, Marcel Tiemann even celebrated his fifth NuÌˆrburgring 24h Race win and now is the most successful driver in the history of the classic endurance-racing event.
Furthermore, the Manthey-Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S raced by Emmanuel Collard, Wolf Henzler, Richard Lietz and Dirk Werner also made it to the podium by finishing third.
â€œThatâ€™s just fantastic,â€ beamed Marcel Tiemann when the race at the NuÌˆrburgring was over. â€œManthey Racing and I have made history, today. My fifth win! I just canâ€™t believe it. It means even more to me than my maiden NuÌˆrburgring 24h Race triumph. And itâ€™s another corner stone for me to have made it to the top position in the 24h-race record book.â€
Team Principal Olaf Manthey returned the compliments of his most successful driver. â€œIâ€™m extremely proud of my drivers. I canâ€™t imagine a better line-up for the 24h race than Timo, Marc, Romain and Marcel.â€
At the same time, Manthey and Tieman also showed their opponents respect: â€œA compliment to Audi for the great performance,â€ said Tiemann and his Team Principal added: â€œPrior to the race I had serious doubts if we would be able to defy the Audis. The more Iâ€™m delighted now about the fact that we succeeded in doing so and experienced such a successful race.â€
Manthey: â€œThe most exciting 24h race of my career.â€
The NuÌˆrburgring crowds will remember the race action of the 37th ADAC Zurich 24h Race for a long time. The 37th edition of the endurance-racing classic started with a one-hour slipstream battle between the future winner, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR #1, and the Reader-Teamâ€™s Ford GT. The close battle of Mantheyâ€™s first-stint driver Marc Lieb with pole-sitter Dirk Adorf at the wheel of the Ford ended only when the Ford made contact with a slower car while lapping it, spun and consequently dropped back.
Soon afterwards, the Phoenix-Audi raced by Marc Basseng, Marcel FÃ¤ssler, Mike Rockenfeller und Frank Stippler closed in on the Porsche and from that point in time, the two cars alternated as race leaders for the major part of the event. And when the GT3 Audi of the squad based at the NuÌˆrburgring dropped back due to a drive-shaft failure, itâ€™s sister car entered by Abt Sportsline took the runner-up position.
At the end of the day, the extraordinary reliability of the Manthey squadâ€™s Porsche proved to be the key factor on the way to prevailing against their toughest opponents.
â€œNo doubt. This was the most exciting 24h race of my entire career,â€ said Olaf Manthey when the event was over. And runner-up Christian Abt confirmed: â€œThis has been my 11th 24h race but never ago it was contested at such a pace right from the start. Itâ€™s the fifth time that I have finished runner-up. So, actually Iâ€™m just as consistent as Marcel â€“ but with the difference that he always stood on the highest step of the podium. Compliments to Audi who have proven once again that they always deliver in great style, no matter where and in what kind of event.â€
Optimised regulations made for thrilling and safe motor racing
One of the reasons why this yearâ€™s 24h race proved to be a true thriller were the new regulations that made for extraordinary competitiveness among the top teams. The cars classified in the top categories had to cope with restrictions and so, the newly allowed GT3 cars proved to be race-win contenders right away.
“Our measures in this area proved to be a major success,â€ said Race Director. â€œRarely in the past had we witnessed that many potential race winners on the grid as this year.â€
Apart from the successful Porsches and Audis, the likes of NuÌˆrburgring architect Hermann Tilke and his team-mates also caused a stir by securing pole position with their gorgeous Ford GT – and by the stunning battle with the future winners in the opening stages of the race.
â€œThe Dodge Viper entered by the Mintgen Team as well as the Schubert- and Alpina BMWs also proved to be extremely competitive,â€ added Hornung. â€œTemporarily, the top ten positions were held by four different brands.â€
Another rule change proved to also have been a good step: from this year, the categories for the smallest cars are no longer allowed to compete in the 24h race.
Walter Hornung: â€œThis resulted in clearly smaller race-speed differences on the track and â€“ consequently â€“ in increased safety. We are happy that the number of accidents was clearly lower than in the past years.â€