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Bruni, Lietz ‘Finally The Lucky Ones’ After Lengthy Win Drought

Porsche’s Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz speak about ending three-year WEC win drought…

Photo: Porsche

Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz were relieved to bring an end to their lengthy winless streak in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking the GTE-Pro class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Lietz stating the duo were ‘finally the lucky ones again.’ 

Bruni, Lietz and Fred Makowiecki took a hard-fought victory in the hotly contested final appearance for the GTE-Pro category, ending up on top in a race of attrition that saw retirements for both front-running Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs as well as issues for the sister Porsche 911 RSR-19.

The victory brings an end to a lengthy win drought for the Italian-Austrian pairing, having last stood on the top step in GTE-Pro during the 4 Hours of Silverstone in August 2019, a 1,016-day winless drought. 

Since then, all of Porsche’s victories in the category were taken by the No. 92 car.

The difficult spell for Bruni and Lietz included two challenging years at Le Mans, where the 911 RSR-19 was unable to take the fight to some of its class rivals for varying reasons.

“To be honest, we had a lot of bad luck and difficulty and the last two years we could not fight for anything in Le Mans,” Lietz told Sportscar365.

After these years it feels really good that we were finally the lucky ones again. Le Mans chose us and a lot of things happened on track. But it looked like during the day, with the heat, we had the performance to fight with Ferrari.

“I think Corvette was in a class of its own so we were a bit lucky with their bad luck.

“At the end, we are here. We won in the final year for the [GT] works effort from Porsche. Next year, none of us will be here maybe.”

Bruni explained that the class win felt liberating after three years of struggle where the No. 91 crew often had to play the support role to aid the sister crew’s title chance or had its own victory chances taken away due to poor fortunes, including the Turn 1 collision at Spa last month.

“I think we had very bad luck,” he said. “Every time we were in a position to do well, something was missing.

“For sure, we had to be teammates for the last race in Bahrain because we didn’t have a chance to win the championship.

“Sometimes you are teammates and you work for the team and do the job they ask of you and sometimes you have the chance to win.

“Our chance in May ended in turn one and this time it finally was a clean race for us.”

N0. 91 Porsche Crew “Hit Every Curb” in Victory Charge

The GTE-Pro race was notable for a high rate of attrition, with several of the major front runners in the class suffering setbacks at some stage.

Notably, both Corvettes dropped out of the race and a spectacular puncture for the No. 92 Porsche dropped it out of contention, while the rival No. 51 Ferrari dropped out of the lead at a crucial moment, also with a puncture.

While the No. 91 car was one of the only class runners that had a trouble-free run, Lietz refutes the notion that the team took a conservative approach to the race, saying it was a ‘miracle’ that the car suffered no problems.

“We hit every curb from the beginning to the end, it’s amazing the car survived,” Lietz said.

“We could not switch on the tire to work in the night; that’s why we struggled a lot in the night and in the day we were quite strong. I think the last six or seven stints our car was a rocket.

“In the night we struggled, 92 was able to put temperature in their tires and we could not and that’s why we lost time in the beginning.”

Bruni added: “For sure, if you look at the race, Corvette was unlucky. [The] 92 [car] had a flat-spot, which damaged the car.

“What can you do? It’s part of the race. Sometimes it works well, other times it works badly.

“For sure, they weren’t lucky. Corvette weren’t lucky but at the end Le Mans chooses who wins.

“This is what is special about Le Mans. Sometimes she recognizes you and sometimes she does not.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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