Porsche wins fourth successive N24 race

2009 N24 race

In front of over 230,000 fans it was the Manthey Racing #1 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Timo Bernhard (Germany), Marc Lieb (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) that won the race.

Team boss, Olaf Manthey was a very happy man, “I’m incredibly proud of my entire team and my drivers. I couldn’t imagine a better line-up than Timo, Marc, Romain and Marcel. But that said, Richard, Wolf, Emmanuel and Dirk also delivered a super performance with our 911 GT3 Cup S. It’s just a shame that changing the drive shaft cost us 24 minutes. Otherwise we could have brought home a double win today.”

AUSringers brought you news of Manthey Racing’s victory as it happened, and, now the Porsche PR crew have done their thing and issued a media release, which can be viewed below.

Also spliced in with the Porsche blurb are driver quotes from the podium finishers, as issued by ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen communications.

2009 N24 race

2009 N24 race

Porsche wins Nürburgring 24 Hours – fourth overall victory in a row for Stuttgart

Porsche has won the Nürburgring 24 hour race for the fourth time in a row (23/24 May). Timo Bernhard (Germany), Marc Lieb (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) crossed the finish line in the 480bhp Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the Manthey Racing team with a one lap advantage over the second-placed Audi R8. The sister Manthey Porsche, the 445 hp 911 GT3 Cup S manned by Richard Lietz (Austria), Wolf Henzler (Germany), Emmanuel Collard (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany), occupied third position. Seven Porsche 911 race cars finished in the top ten.

A total of 235,000 spectators witnessed the fastest 24 hour race in history on the Nürburgring. Clocking up 3,933 kilometres, the Manthey Racing squad improved on its own distance record from 2006 by a further 101 kilometres. Timo Bernhard and Marcel Tiemann are the first drivers to win the long distance classic four times in succession. All in all, Tiemann has climbed to the top of the podium five times, making him the most successful driver of the 24 hour race.

Already in the early stages, the race turned into a thriller. For almost one hour, Marc Lieb followed in the slipstream of the pole-setting Ford GT driven by Dirk Adorf. Only when the Ford spun after lapping a slower vehicle and fell back, did Lieb get a free run. Until the early morning hours, the winner of last year was entangled in a gripping duel with the fastest of the Audis. As the regulations allow the more powerful R8 LMS a 20-litre larger fuel tank, the Audi could turn out one more lap per tank. “To counter-act this we had to take more risks and turn one qualifying lap after the other to stay in the lead,” says Timo Bernhard describing his most gruelling 24 hour race to date. “It was only when the Audi experienced technical problems that we could take it a little more carefully during the last hours,” added Marc Lieb. For Romain Dumas this was the most decisive factor in the race: “All of us were able to maintain this unbelievable pace and not one of us made the slightest error.” For Marcel Tiemann it was a dream came true: “We wrote motorsport history today. To win this race four times in a row with this team and now become the driver with the most victories here, that means a great deal to me.”

For team boss Olaf Manthey, the fourth consecutive win was the best: “I’m incredibly proud of my entire team and my drivers. I couldn’t imagine a better line-up than Timo, Marc, Romain and Marcel. But that said, Richard, Wolf, Emmanuel and Dirk also delivered a super performance with our 911 GT3 Cup S. It’s just a shame that changing the drive shaft cost us 24 minutes. Otherwise we could have brought home a double win today.”

Another impressive demonstration of the renowned reliability of the Porsche 911 was shown by the squad under Uwe Alzen (Germany). Sharing driving duties with his all German line-up, Sascha Bert, Lance David Arnold and Christopher Mies, they brought home fourth place with their 420 bhp 911 GT3 Cup, which is raced in 13 Porsche brand trophy series around the world.

Head of Porsche Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen, was impressed with the consistently good performance of the Porsche teams: “Our customers ran three different current Porsche racing models at this race: the 911 GT3 RSR, the 911 GT3 Cup S and the 911 GT3 Cup. All three were equally fast and reliable. There is hardly a more impressive way to show that the Porsche 911 is still the best sports car in the world. Congratulations to Manthey Racing and all the other Porsche teams who did a great job in their respective classes. Despite the new tank regulations clearly disadvantaging the Porsche teams, the Manthey squad could still bring home their fourth straight win. Still, that shouldn’t conceal the fact that the regulations should be corrected. The efficient vehicles should not be the ones that spend the most time refuelling in the pits.”

Overall result 2009 Nürburgring 24 hour race

  1. Bernhard/Lieb/Dumas/Tiemann, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 155 laps
  2. Abt/Hemroulle/Kaffer/Luhr, Audi R8 LMS,154
  3. Collard/Henzler/Lietz/Werner, Porsche GT3 Cup S, 152
  4. Alzen/Bert/Arnold/Mies, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 150
  5. Basseng/Fässler/Rockenfeller/Stippler, Audi R8 LMS, 149
  6. Schmitz/Abbelen/Althoff/Heyer, Porsche 911 GT3, 149
  7. Kräling/Gindorf/Scharmach/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 149
  8. Bermes/Kainz/Schmickler/Bergmeister, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S, 148
  9. Quinn/Quinn/Baird/Denyer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 146
  10. Adams/Ludwig/Meier/Grossmann, BMW Z4 M Coupé, 145

2009 N24 race

2009 N24 race

# 1 (Bernhard / Lieb / Dumas / Tiemann) Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – winners

Marcel Tiemann: “I reckon that this one was the toughest of all my five wins because beating the works-Audis is something different indeed. The Audis kept the pace at a very high level. At the end, we did lap times like we did last year, in spite of the changed regulations. In terms of speed, we had to step up a little bit to catch up with the Audis. The regulations are heading into the right direction. Maybe there are still some bits and pieces that need finetuning. It is still too early to talk about that. It was clear that Audi would be our main opponent, but the Audis weren’t that quick. We were certain that the Porsche would last 30 hours if required.”

Timo Bernhard: “It really was a 24 hour sprint race, because there were many cars at the same level. Initially, every one of us had to push until the final lap. Only when the Audi had trouble, we could back off a little bit. I particularly liked the fact that there were nice wheel-to wheel battles this time. Thanks to Olaf for the great car. I know that this victory is something very special for him, because he loves this race.”

Marc Lieb: “Today, we were absolutely at the limit in every stint. Only on my final stint, I could take it a little bit easier. Our drivers and mechanics have given everything throughout the weekend. I have never seen something like this race. Right away from the start, it was
incredibly exciting.”

Romain Dumas: “For me, it was a great weekend, especially because I received a special award as well. In Germany, the Nürburgring 24 Hours have the same standing as the Le Mans 24 Hours in France. Therefore, I am very happy that the organisers of these two big races are now working together and that spectators can buy a combined ticket for both events.”

2009 N24 race

# 97 (Abt / Hemroulle / Kaffer / Luhr) Audi R8 LMS – second place

Christian Abt: “I had been involved in the development of the Audi R8 from the very beginning. Therefore, I knew what this car is up to. I thought that playing it safe would be better, so we backed off, and as it shows, that was the right way. In order to achieve this, we discussed our driving style with each other.”

Jean-Francois Hemroulle: “During the race, the car was in escellent condition. We didn’t have any problems. Prior to the race, our mechanics have done a lot of work in preparing the Audi in such a good way. We were doing well with the R8 and we hade a great race out in front.”

Pierre Kaffer: “I know from the past that Audi is building good cars and that Abt is preparing them in the best possible way. As we have a brand-new car, we didn’t want to go the speed right away. During the night, we pushed a little bit more. But when we found out that we couldn’t catch up, we shifted one gear down again.”

Lucas Luhr: “When you have strong team-mates, you want to finish ahead of them, and so we did. Our team has done a great job. Now, I must be careful what I say, because our team boss is here at the table, too. Our team has done a great job. Nobody really knew whether the car would last. And we have all seen how quickly one can be out of then race. When our sister car hit trouble, you start wondering and fearing that the same might happen to us. Finishing second with a new car is a great thing. The Manthey team has done a good job, too, all these guys can be proud.”

2009 N24 race

# 2 (Collard / Henzler / Lietz / Werner) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S – third place

Emmanuel Collard: “After our broken drive shaft, the final five hours determined our race. Eventually, it was a great weekend for Porsche and Manthey because both cars were contenders for overall victory.”

Wolf Henzler: “For me, this race was something very special as this was my first 24-hour race here and I could gain a lot of experience. Incredible, so many fans around the Nordschleife. Especially the atmosphere during the night was great. Indeed, there was smoke over the track sometimes, for instance at Fuchsröhre. That was a great experience. So far, I did’t know the Nordschleife that well. A big hand to the team for the great car. Manthey has done a great job.”

Richard Lietz: “I wasn’t in the pit box when our car had driveshaft problems. I only found out later on. But we have shown that we can go the pace to battle for first, second or third place. I am very happy with third place. Bar the driveshaft problem, our car ran trouble-free throughout the race. We didn’t take any caution and got the maximum out of the car.”

Dirk Werner: “235,000 fans along the Nordschleife are a great crowd. Unfortunately, one has barely time to notice the spectators while driving. I am particularly impressed by the knowledge of the fans. Being allowed to participate in this event was a great experience. Thanks to Manthey. The entire team has worked very well and made no mistakes. That was the key to success.”