LE MANS, France, June 18 (Reuters) - Porsche won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third year in a row on Sunday after a race of retirements that scuppered Toyota’s bid for a first triumph.
The German manufacturer’s 19th outright win at the Circuit de la Sarthe followed a night of drama with Toyota’s top two cars retiring and the number one Porsche also suffering a terminal problem while leading with four hours to go.
That left the number two Porsche, shared by German Timo Bernhard and New Zealanders Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, to move surprisingly back into contention and take the chequered flag with Bernhard at the wheel.
The trio’s chances had been written off by team bosses on Saturday evening when their car suffered front axle problems and spent 90 minutes in the garage before rejoining at the back of the field and some 22 laps adrift of the leading Toyota. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)