31 Aug 2015

Hartley helps Porsche wins in Germany

6:39 am on 31 August 2015

The New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley has helped Porsche follow up their historic Le Mans 24 Hours triumph with a comprehensive 1-2 result at the Nurburgring in the latest round of the World Endurance Championship.

Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley

Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley Photo: p

Hartley, co-drivers Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard finished first, their maiden WEC win together, with the second Porsche car with drivers Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas coming taking second place.

With its primary objective of clinching the round-the-clock classic completed, Porsche's efforts over the summer break to hone the 919 Hybrid into a more complete competitor on shorter circuits reaped clear dividends as Audi had no answer to their rivals despite neither Porsche car having a flawless race.

Starting from the front row, the pole sitting #18 car of built a sizeable early lead, particularly when the following #17 Porsche of Webber, Bernhard and Hartley was forced to pit earlier than planned to replace a damaged front splitter.

However, the trio's hopes of stretching clear would ultimately be scuppered by three stop-go penalties amounting to 1min 30secs for excessive fuel intake after an apparent issue.

The problems would duly promote the #17 machine back into the lead, one it would maintain until the finish, the trio taking its first win together in WEC.

Despite the problems, the #18 showcased Porsche's superior pace by repeatedly getting itself back amongst the trailing Audis, finding a way through in the final hour to complete a famous 1-2 finish for the manufacturer in the first international sportscar race to take place at the Nurburgring in 24 years.

The #8 Audi of Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval completed the podium, ahead of erstwhile championship leaders Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer, on a day that saw the team suffer no notable issues but could not contend with Porsche's rapid pace.

Similarly, Toyota had reliability but little pace, both TS040 Hybrids finishing three and four laps off the lead ahead of what looks to be a long second-half of the season for the defending champions.

New Zealander Richie Stanaway was 6th for Aston Marton in lower tier GTE-Pro class.