Kiwi vic­tory at Nur­bur­gring

The Southland Times - - SPORT - MO­TOR­SPORT

Fresh off a re­mark­able win at Le Mans, Kiwi driv­ers Bren­don Hart­ley and Earl Bam­ber and their Porsche team achieved the third win in a row at the six-hour race at Nur­bur­gring.

Palmer­ston North’s Hart­ley and Whanganui’s Bam­ber, along with Ger­man team-mate Timo Bern­hard fin­ished on top of the podium at the fa­mous Ger­man track yes­ter­day, with Hart­ley and Bern­hard hav­ing been in the team that has won the event for the past two years, while it was a first for Bam­ber.

The trio pulled off a come-frombe­hind win at 24 Hours of Le Mans in France last month, the first time a Kiwi has been on the podium since 1966, when mo­tor­sport leg­ends Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon won.

So the Nur­bur­gring win was the sec­ond race tri­umph for the Porsche LMP Team this year and the 15th for the 919 Hy­brid since its de­but in 2014.

The sis­ter Porsche car with reign­ing world cham­pion Neel Jani (Switzer­land), An­dre Lot­terer (Ger­many) and Nick Tandy (Great Bri­tain) fin­ished sec­ond, hav­ing led the race for a long time.

Hart­ley’s team started in third place on the grid and their sis­ter car sec­ond, with a Toy­ota car on pole.

Af­ter a close open­ing 40 laps, the two Porsche cars over­took the Toy­ota, with Hart­ley at the wheel when he took them into the lead.

Af­ter that the two Porsche cars took turns lead­ing, be­fore Bern­hard hit the front on lap 197, then he took the che­quered flag on the 204th lap.

‘‘I had a good cou­ple of stints – kept a steady pace and took no risks,’’ Bam­ber, 27, said. ‘‘The car’s bal­ance was nice through­out – the guys gave us a great race car to­day.

‘‘I had to take avoid­ing ac­tion when an LMP2 spun in front of me but that was my only slight drama.’’

The 27-year-old Hart­ley said: ’’I was re­ally happy with my first stint. I took over from Timo and came out right be­hind the sis­ter car but got ahead within a few laps.

‘‘The car was feel­ing re­ally strong ini­tially and I took the lead from the Toy­ota and pulled a good gap. But half­way through the stint we lost some per­for­mance, maybe caused by pick-up with re­gards the front aero, but then right at the end the bal­ance re­turned.’’

This out­come marks the fifth onetwo FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship (WEC) race re­sult for Porsche, the last dat­ing back to the 2015 Shang­hai race.

Af­ter light rain in the morn­ing, the fourth of nine cham­pi­onship rounds was held in dry con­di­tions.

Porsche has now scored 154 points in the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ world cham­pi­onship with a 39.5 points gap to Toy­ota.

In the driv­ers’ rank­ings, Bam­berBern­hard-Hart­ley have 108 points, earn­ing them an 30-point ad­van­tage over the best-placed Toy­ota trio.

Mean­while Jani-Lot­terer-Tandy team move up to fourth po­si­tion in the cham­pi­onship (46 points).

Af­ter the sum­mer break, the fifth round of the FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship is in Mex­ico City on Septem­ber 3.

PORSCHE

The Porsche team of Earl Bam­ber (New Zealand), left, Timo Bern­hard (Ger­many) and Bren­don Hart­ley (New Zealand) on the podium with their tro­phies af­ter win­ning the six-hour race at Nur­bur­gring.

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