15 Jun 2015

NZ one-two at 24 Hours Le Mans

8:49 am on 15 June 2015

The New Zealand racing drivers Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley have repeated history, finishing first and second in the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race.

New Zealand driver Earl Bamber celebrates winning 2014 Porsche Super Cup title.

New Zealand driver Earl Bamber. Photo: Supplied

Bamber and his team mates German Nico Hulkenberg and Briton Nick Tandy, crossed the line first ahead of Hartley, Australia's Mark Webber, and Germany's Timo Bernhard, in a one-two finish for Porsche.

Bamber and Hartley have emulated the feat of legendary New Zealand drivers Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren in 1966 who finished ahead of Denny Hulme in the first 1-2 New Zealand finish at Le Mans.

With German Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg behind the wheel in the No.19 car, Porsche ended Audi's five-race winning run to clinch a record 17th victory at the famous endurance race.

Audi's defending champions Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Faessler completed the podium places in the 83rd edition of the race.

Audi had won seven of the past eight races, with Porsche's last win coming in 1998.

Returning to Le Mans after a 16-year absence in the top category, Porsche missed out last year because of a mechanical problem as Faessler, Lotterer, and Treluye drove Audi to its fifth straight title.

This time, Porsche overcame an early crash in a dominant win.

Fellow New Zealand Mitch Evans, who races in the Formula One feeder series GP2 and was on Le Man's debut, helped his Jota Sport team to second in the LMP2 second tier class and 10th overall.

Thanks to Evans' efforts alongside ex-GP2 racer Oliver Turvey and Simon Dolan, Jota fought back after being delayed early on.

Ritchie Stanaway, another New Zealander competing in GP2 and also on Le Mans debut, took pole position in the GTE Pro third tier class.

Stanaway, fresh from his maiden GP2 win in Monaco, went even faster during the race than in qualifying and held onto the honour of quickest GT driver of the week.

An Aston Martin factory driver since 2013 but in his first appearance at the marquee race, Stanaway's car was one of several fighting for the win in the third tier class, but dropped out of contention when team-mate Fernando Rees made contact with another car and finished sixth, 17 laps down on the class-winning Corvette.

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