Hat-trick for Porsche at Le Mans

Porsche claimed a third Le Mans win in a row after a dramatic edition of the 24-hour race that saw plenty of twists and turns along the way.

A late comeback helped Porsche win its third successive Le Mans victory.   -  Getty Images

Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley ensured a third successive Le Mans victory for Porsche after completing a sensational late comeback.

After years of Audi dominance in the 24-hour race, Porsche has come to the fore in recent years and it was on top of the podium again on Sunday, albeit with its number two car rather than the much-fancied first team.

It looked like it would not be Porsche's day early on in the endurance race as Toyota set the early pace, the Japanese constructor occupying the top two places for the majority of the first 10 hours of racing.

However, its fortunes began to unravel after a lengthy spell behind a safety car.

And, as the race ticked over into its 11th hour, disaster struck as Kamui Kobayashi's vehicle lost power, ending the former Formula One driver's hopes.

Moments later the next Toyota was in trouble, a left-rear puncture leaving Nicolas Lapierre with flames coming out of the back of his car.

With the two Toyotas out of the running, Porsche took complete control as Nick Tandy, Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer opened up a 12-lap lead.

The drama was far from over, though, as a mechanical fault with the number one Porsche brought its race to a premature end, the lead car unable to reach the pits.

That saw Jackie Chan DC Racing take over the lead - the first time a lower classification vehicle had led Le Mans - but the Porsche revival denied it a memorable victory.

Slowly Bernhard, Bamber and Hartley cut their deficit and an extended stop for Ho-Pin Tung opened the door, Porsche roaring through it with two hours remaining .

There was no stopping Porsche as Bernhard clocked up a third win, while Bamber secured his second and it was a first for Hartley.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Porsche LMP Team
2. Jackie Chan DC Racing +1 lap
3. Vaillante Rebellion +3 laps
4. Jackie Chan DC Racing +4 laps
5. Signatech Alpine Matmut +5 laps