The No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R run by Manthey-Racing is currently on course for victory at the Nürburgring 24-hour classic. After a good five hours of racing, Kévin Estre snatched the lead with a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre. The Frenchman and his teammates Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) confidently defended this top spot throughout the night. Multiple accidents, many code-60 zones and racing under yellow failed to hamper the charge of the driver quartet, who now enter the last third of the race with good chances to win.
The Porsche squad Frikadelli Racing have also performed impressively with the 500+hp nine-eleven (#31). Matt Campbell (Australia), Mathieu Jaminet (France), Romain Dumas (France) and Sven Müller (Germany) battled their way through the field during the night and are now on track to claim a podium spot at the long-distance marathon. Despite the heavy traffic on the track, the line-up in the No. 12 Porsche 911 GTR 3 fielded by Manthey-Racing, Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Dennis Olsen (Norway), Otto Klohs and Lars Kern (both Germany), have preserved their chance to finish in the top ten. For a long time, the crew in the No. 8 car run by Iron Force by Ring Police looked likely to join the top ten group, but a time penalty relegated Lu-cas Luhr, Jan-Erik Slooten (both Germany), Steve Jans (Luxembourg) and Adrien de Leener (Belgium) down the field.
For last year’s winners Frédéric Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet (both France), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain), the campaign to defend their title was scuttled in lap 61. The experienced squad in the No. 1 Porsche 911 GTR 3 was ini-tially running in third place, only to have a puncture throw them back to 37th place. Richard Lietz’s catch-up race through the night was thwarted by an accident that damaged the car beyond repair.
Comments on the race so far
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “Unfortunately, we lost a car during the night. A Falken Motorsports vehicle sustained damages that needed repairing. The number 30 Frikadelli Porsche had problems with the steering. How-ever, the number 91 and 31 cars made it through the night, the crews haven’t made any mistakes despite the high pace and they kept out of any trouble. In this way they’ve manoeuvred themselves into a good position to finish at the very front.”
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3 R #1): “That was a normal Nordschleife accident, it’s something that happens often here. I hope the other driver involved is okay. I’m fine, but sadly the car is kaput. But that’s racing. If you don’t attack, you’re too slow. If you attack too hard, there’s always the risk that something can happen. I’m crossing my fingers for the number 911 car and hope it stays in the lead.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “My stint was tough. There were quite a few inexperienced drivers at the wheels of cars contesting the smaller classes. I had to be extremely careful when lapping them so that they could see me. Fortunately, we manage to make it to the morning without any collisions. The car is running real-ly well and we have to keep our concentration up to the end.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “We drove double stints in the night. That was very difficult with all the traffic on the course, and there were a lot of dicey moments. But we’ve managed to avoid any accidents or damages and we’ll now push to the finish – the competition is fierce.”
Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 GT3 R #12): “My pace was good during my double stint, the car ran perfectly despite the high load. The entire team is doing a flawless job, and we have to continue to do this until the race is over.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #44): “It was chaotic on the track during my first night stint. There were many accidents, you couldn’t get into a flow and find your rhythm. On the other hand, not a lot happened during my double stint at night. Driv-ing was really pleasant and it was great fun as the sun came up.”