Jun 23, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT
Perhaps unexpectedly, Porsche swept through to take class victories in both GTE Pro and GTE Am with two different iterations of its iconic 911. The victories are the 99th and 100th in class for Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Its new 911, the 991 that is campaigned in a two-car works effort from Weissach with preparation from Team Manthey, finished 1-2 in GTE Pro with a clean drive from both cars. All their rivals from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Corvette and SRT didn’t quite have the pace, consistency or luck to match.
Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Romain Dumas co-drove the winning No. 92 991, with second place taken by the No. 91 driven by Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet and Timo Bernhard. The No. 91 had earlier contact with a Ferrari in the pit lane so did well to recover from that, while the No. 92 largely ran trouble-free.
Aston Martin’s underlying pace resulted in only one podium finish – third for its “Art Car” No. 97 Vantage driven by Stefan Mucke, Darren Turner and Peter Dumbreck.
All in all though, it had been such a challenging day for Aston, who pressed on gracefully after the tragedy in the first hour with the accident that claimed driver Allan Simonsen.
Porsche also took the GTE Am class win with the No. 76 Imsa Performance Matmut 911 GT3 RSR, a 2012-spec car, with co-drivers JK Vernay, Christophe Bourret and Raymond Narac. AF Corse’s two Ferrari F458 Italias finished second and third, just ahead of the Dempsey Del Piero Racing Porsche co-driven with Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Patrick Long.
OAK Racing captured a 1-2 in LMP2, with ex-IndyCar drivers Bertrand Baguette and Martin Plowman sharing the class-winning No. 35 Morgan Nissan with Ricardo Gonzalez. The polesitting No. 24 finished second in the hands of Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson, and the G-Drive Racing No. 26 Oreca 03 Nissan of Mike Conway, John Martin and Roman Rusinov secured the final podium position in class.
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