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