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Le Mans: Only a handful of drivers have chance to defend wins

Jun 12, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

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Only three drivers have a chance to go back-to-back in the same class at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Tom Kristensen (LMP1), Richard Lietz (GTE-Pro) and Raymond Narac (GTE-Am) are in the same entries as they were last year, the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR and No. 76 Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, respectively.

But each of the three has a pair of new co-drivers.

Kristensen will co-drive with Lucas di Grassi and late addition Marc Gene, in for the injured Loic Duval. Duval, who crashed Wednesday, and Allan McNish, who’s since retired, were in the winning No. 1 Audi last year.

Lietz’s two 2013 teammates, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas, have been called up to Porsche’s new LMP1 program this year. So Lietz will try to defend his GTE-Pro class win with Marco Holzer and new factory recruit Frederic Makowiecki.

Narac swaps Jean-Karl Vernay and Christophe Bourret for Nicolas Armindo and David Hallyday. The driver lineup is a downgrade from last year’s and with an older-spec Porsche, it’s going to be a challenge for that team to repeat in the 19-car GTE-Am class.

None of the LMP2 winners from last year with OAK Racing, Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez, are racing in Le Mans this year.

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