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Manthey EMA Claims First-Ever LMGT3 Win at Le Mans

Manthey EMA beats Team WRT, writes history as first squad to take LMGT3 class victory in 24H Le Mans…

Photo: Porsche

Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring and Richard Lietz claimed the first-ever LMGT3 class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Manthey EMA, beating Team WRT in the process.

The No. 91 Porsche 911 GT3 R finished a lap ahead of the No. 31 BMW M4 GT3, which was shared between Darren Leung, Sean Gelael and Augusto Farfus.

Proton Competition secured a class podium on debut for the Ford Mustang GT3 at Le Mans, with Giorgio Roda, Mikkel Pedersen and Dennis Olsen.

The pair of Manthey-entered Porsches featured at the front of the field from the early stages of the 92nd running of the French endurance classic, which was interrupted by a four-and-a-half hour safety car period for heavy rain during the night hours.

When the race eventually returned to green flag conditions, the No. 91 car ran in second position behind the sister No. 92 Porsche of Alex Malykhin, Joel Sturm and Klaus Bachler.

However, after Lietz passed Bachler shortly after the restart, the No. 92 car was then pushed into the garage to address gearbox problems and was thus effectively eliminated from contention.

With the No. 91 car assuming the lead, the No. 31 Team WRT BMW moved up to become Manthey’s primary rival.

The Belgian squad initially gained the upper hand when Farfus outpaced Silver-rated Schuring to gain the class lead, only for the pendulum to swing the other way when Lietz overtook Gelael on the run to Indianapolis.

The No. 91 car then built up a gap over the BMW which remained intact and was then extended even as Farfus was reinstalled behind the wheel for the final stint.

The win marked Porsche’s first class victory at Le Mans since its 2022 GTE-Pro triumph, which also featured Lietz as part of the lineup.

Manthey EMA, meanwhile, secured a second landmark endurance victory this year after it took an overall win in the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour in February.

It also finished on the overall podium in the Nürburgring 24 earlier this month.

Proton, in addition to finishing third in class, brought a second car home in the top-five when the No. 44 Mustang GT3 driven by John Hartsthorne, Ben Tuck and Christopher Mies finished fourth.

The No. 85 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey crossed the line in fifth, ahead of the No. 55 Vista AF Corse Ferrari and the No. 78 Akkodis ASP Team Lexus RC F GT3.

The top ten in class was rounded out by the No. 155 Spirit of Race Ferrari, the No. 777 D’station Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo and the second Akkodis ASP Lexus.

In addition to six official retirements in the class, a number of other notable cars suffered setbacks in an attrition-filled first Le Mans outing for the category.

While WRT secured a podium with its leading car, the second entry shared between Ahmad Al Harthy, Valentino Rossi and Maxime Martin retired when Al Harthy crashed exiting the Dunlop Chicane overnight.

United Autosports suffered a double retirement with its pair of McLaren 720S GT3 Evos, while the class pole-sitting Inception Racing-entered example fell back with a broken radiator after an on-track collision.

Chevrolet experienced a troubled first Le Mans outing for the Corvette Z06 GT3.R, with neither TF Sport-entered examples finishing inside the top ten in class.

The No. 81 car for Tom van Rompuy, Rui Andrade and Charlie Eastwood most notably suffered a power control issue that cost a significant amount of time on Sunday.

The No. 54 Vista AF Corse Ferrari became the race’s first official retirement when Thomas Flohr hit the tire barrier at the Dunlop Chicane in the third hour.

Daniel Mancinelli, meanwhile, rolled the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo after an impact with the tire barrier at Indianapolis. The Italian was checked at and cleared from the on-site medical center in the wake of the crash.

The No. 66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari, which was an early frontrunner in the hands of Larry ten Voorde, retired with a fuel pressure issue.

GR Racing’s No. 86 Ferrari, meanwhile, stopped on track at the Dunlop Chicane within the final 30 minutes and failed to reach the finish.

RESULTS: 24 Hours of Le Mans

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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