Nico Hulkenberg shared victory in his first attempt at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Porsche team mates Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.
Porsche’s 919s finish first and second after seeing off a race-long challenge from rivals Audi. Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard took second place, a lap behind their victorious team mates.
Last year’s winners Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer came third for Audi having made two extra stops for minor maintenance to the car including repairs to its engine cover.
Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval took fourth place in another Audi. Duval suffered one of few incidents involving one of the front-running LMP1 cars after crashing on the approach to a slow zone early in the race. Despite heavy damage to the front nose the R18 Etron Quattro was swiftly serviced and returned to the fray.
The third Porsche of Romain Dunas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finished fifth having started from pole position. The highest Toyota at the chequered flag was in sixth place – the car of Alexander Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway finishing eight laps adrift.
The last of the Audis was seventh, delayed by a driveshaft change, followed by the second Toyota.
Just one of Nissan’s trio of unconventional front-engined LMP1 racers saw the chequered flag. Michael Krumm, Harry Tincknell and Alex Buncombe were still running in 40th place at the end of the race, but only completed 242 laps in the last car still going at the end.
Hulkenberg is the first regular F1 competitor to win at Le Mans since 1991, when Mazda’s winning car featured Johnny Herbert (Lotus) and Bertrand Gachot (Jordan) in its line-up. However Lotterer started last year’s Belgian Grand Prix for Caterham after taking his third Le Mans win.
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