Miserable return to Le Mans for Porsche
2020 a year to forget for works GT team at La Sarthe
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It was an occasion to mark half a century since Porsche recorded its first outright victory at this famous race in France, however any celebrations were to remain pointed at past glories after a miserable showing at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours. The 88th running of this twice-round-the-clock race will sadly be one to forget for the Porsche factory team and their no.91 and no.92 works RSRs, which looked off the pace in the highly competitive GTE-Pro class from the start. Then, after just five hours of racing, the no.92 car of reigning world champions Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre, plus Laurens Vanthoor, suffered a power steering fault, putting them back by ten laps. Further repair work later in the race succumbed the 911 to a 6th-place finish in class, some 15 laps off the leaders.
The sister no.91 car of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki finished one place ahead in 5th, an electrical problem in the early hours of Sunday putting to bed any lingering hopes of keeping pace with the lead Aston Martin.
There was some success to be had for Porsche and its 911 RSR in the GTE-Am class, which gave us a gripping race for the 88th running of Le Mans. Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 car, featuring works driver Matt Campbell, plus Riccardo Pera and Proton team owner Christian Ried, claimed 2nd spot after a thrilling final 24 minutes of racing, which involved a three-way battle for 2nd.
Campbell kept his cool at the wheel of the 2019-spec RSR to claim a podium place and provide at least some cheer for Porsche, returning to La Sarthe 50 years after Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood triumphed in the 917K to give the manufacturer the first of 19 outright wins at the world’s most famous endurance race.