Closer to perfection
Double victory for Manthey EMA and Manthey PureRxcing at the FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
WEC | Racing
  • FIA WEC debut victory for Richard Lietz, Morris Schuring and Yasser Shahin in the number 91 Manthey EMA Porsche
  • Second place for Manthey Pure Rxcing's number 92 to complete the team's one-two finish
  • The Manthey PureRxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R was rebuilt by the Manthey crew for the race after an accident in the LMGT3 Hyperpole
  • Manthey EMA moves up to sixth place in the team standings, Manthey PureRxcing extends its championship lead with the race result

Spa. Manthey EMA and Manthey PureRxcing scored a double podium in the FIA WEC LMGT3 class with first and second place finishes in the six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. Richard Lietz made up eight positions in his stint, regained the lead on the final lap of the race and, together with team-mates Morris Schuring and Yasser Shahin, secured Manthey EMA's first victory in the World Endurance Championship. The sister car, number 92, crossed the finish line at Spa in second place shortly afterwards, further extending its lead in the LMGT3 Team and Drivers' Championships. The Manthey PureRxcing Porsche was only able to compete thanks to the efforts of the Manthey crew, who rebuilt the car overnight after an accident the day before.

The third round of the FIA WEC at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium started in third and eighth place for Alex Malykhin (#92) and Yasser Shahin (#91). The Manthey PureRxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R, which had crashed in the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section in the Hyperpole session the day before, was only able to start because the Manthey crew had rebuilt the car by the next morning. Alex Malykhin was unharmed in the accident and was medically cleared to race. The Briton confirmed this with a flawless start, moving up a position on the first lap. Car number 91 also worked its way up the field. Morris Schuring took over at the wheel of the LMGT3 car about 20 minutes before the four-hour mark and clocked up the first lead kilometres with the Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R in the FIA WEC.

After four hours and 15 minutes, the race was interrupted due to an accident. The red flag favoured the cars that had pitted earlier, like the Manthey PureRxcing crew. For the leading number 91 car, this meant that the planned pit stop and driver change to Richard Lietz had to take place after the restart and would cost positions. As a result, the Austrian started the final hour and a half of the race in ninth place. The two Manthey Porsche continuously made up positions as the race progressed and were on course for a podium finish in second (#92) and third (#91) shortly before the end of the race. On the last lap, the Lamborghini in the lead had to pit again for refuelling. The then leading number 92 Porsche, which had been in fuel management throughout the entire stint, also had to conserve its last fuel reserves over the final few kilometres, allowing Richard Lietz in the Manthey EMA sister car to regain the lead on the last lap of the race.

This marked both the first win for the driver trio of Richard Lietz, Morris Schuring and Yasser Shahin and the first double podium for Manthey in the LMGT3 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship. With a third podium in the third round of the FIA WEC, Manthey PureRxcing has extended its lead in the team and driver standings to 35 points.

“I am very proud of our whole team. This weekend has shown that this is a team sport. Rebuilding the number 92 tonight after the serious accident yesterday and then being able to fight for the victory with it is a really strong performance. The race was strategically very challenging. We made a few clever strategic moves, the mechanics did a great job despite working a night shift, and everyone really contributed to this one-two victory,” summarised Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director of Manthey Racing GmbH.

With the next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Le Mans on 15 and 16 June, the highlight of the WEC season is next on the agenda for Manthey. Before that, the Meuspath-based team will contest the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring from 30 May to 2 June with a Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Quotes on the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps:

Richard Lietz, Porsche 911 GT3 R #91: “What a turbulent race! Firstly, Manthey worked incredibly hard to get the 92 car back on track. The crew then drove a strong race today. Yasser did a great job for us and had a great qualifying. Morris then drove to the front and led comfortably until the red flag. Then it was uncertain for a long time how and whether things would continue. In the end, the race director decided to restart the race. I then pushed as hard as I could for an hour and a half and was able to drive consistently. In the end, with a little bit of luck and the right strategy, we achieved a very good result with first and second place.”

Morris Schuring, Porsche 911 GT3 R #91: “An incredible race. It was a rollercoaster of emotions: I took the lead, drove from P9 to P1 in my stint and then lost the lead due to the red flag. But then the team worked out a great strategy and Richard drove a really good stint. And the teamwork between the 92 and 91 crews was great. I'm really grateful that we have such a good atmosphere in the team. It's been a long time coming for us to win this race and we really deserve it. It's a great feeling to win so close to home and I'm very happy.”

Yasser Shahin, Porsche 911 GT3 R #91: “Today was absolutely one of the highlights of my time in racing. It's a privilege to be here with Manthey EMA and represent The Bend. I'm in the business of motorsport, and there's no greater feeling than winning at one of the world's great circuits. We've had a wonderful day.”

Klaus Bachler, Porsche 911 GT3 R #92: “First of all, a big thank you to the whole team, they rebuilt our car overnight today. The most important thing is that Alex is doing well, because that was a big accident yesterday. He drove his two stints superbly today, which was obviously important for us, especially for the championship again. Those were important points and it was a real team effort. We couldn't have expected first place for the sister car and second place for us today. That was only possible because we all made no mistakes and gave it our all. A top result for us as a team and also for the championship, in which we are now leading by 35 points. Now I'm looking forward to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to really stepping on the gas there once again.”

Alex Malykhin, Porsche 911 GT3 R #92: “Second place, a good result for us this weekend. I wanted to give everything in qualifying yesterday and lost the car. Today, apart from a few bruises, I was fine under the circumstances and it was my decision, in close consultation with the doctors and engineers, to start in the race. I felt good during the race. Our car also felt excellent and I was able to drive with exactly the same set-up as yesterday. Manthey has once again shown that they are among the best in GT racing. After this race, I'll now prepare for Le Mans - it's a new track for me and I'm looking forward to the night race.”

Joel Sturm, Porsche 911 GT3 R #92: “It was an extremely good weekend for Manthey after yesterday, when our car was pretty badly damaged. The team did a great job, rebuilt the car overnight and was rewarded with a double victory. Of course we would have liked to have won the race - losing the lead on the last lap is never nice, but it was still a very good result for us. We were able to significantly extend our championship lead and yes, it was simply an extremely enjoyable weekend. Now we're going to celebrate a bit and then the focus will shift back to Le Mans, where we're obviously hoping for a similar result to today.”

Patrick Arkenau, Division Manager Racing, Manthey Racing GmbH: “I'm very happy with our result: A double victory for Manthey here at Spa in front of a sell-out crowd, it couldn't have gone better for us. The week was obviously a rollercoaster of emotions with Alex Malykhin's accident in the Hyperpole. But then to come back like this, to build up the car, to drive very well with both cars throughout the race and to be able to celebrate the one-two victory at the end, which we worked hard for with strategic means, was simply fantastic. Especially after the difficult last DTM race in Oschersleben. We are simply very happy that we were able to realise this and are now looking forward to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Results 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps:
LMGT3 Class
1. Lietz/Schuring/Shahin (AT/NL/AU), Manthey EMA, Porsche 911 GT3 R #91
2. Bachler/Malykhin/Sturm (AT/GB/DE), Manthey PureRxcing, Porsche 911 GT3 R #92

WEC race calendar 2024:
24. - 25.02.2024 Qatar Official Prologue | Qatar
02.03.2024 Qatar 1812 KM | Qatar
21.04.2024 6 Hours of Imola | Italy
11.05.2024 TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps | Belgium
15. - 16.06.2024 24 Hours of Le Mans | France
14.07.2024 6 Hours of Sao Paulo | Brasil
01.09.2024 Lone Star Le Mans (COTA) | USA
15.09.2024 6 Hours of Fuji | Japan
02.11.2024 8 Hours of Bahrain | Bahrain