The Porsche RS Spyder enjoyed a winning debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours after the van Merksteijn Motorsport squad secured LMP2 honours in the French classic.

Jos Verstappen, Jeroen Bleekemolen and team owner Peter van Merksteijn shared driving duties in the white and purple car, which completed the race without any technical issues and crossed the line with a comfortable lead in class and a top-ten overall finish - its only minor delay coming when the underbody of the car came loose from running over the curbs.

That trouble-free run was impressive in itself with the car tackling the challenging La Sarthe circuit for the first time and Verstappen admitted that the car had been a dream to drive throughout.

"This success is something very special in my racing career," the former F1 racer said. "Winning at Le Mans means you go down in racing history. For me it was also important as I'd never competed in a 24-hour race before. The car was unbelievably reliable and fantastic to drive. It was great fun right from the first to the last minute."

Team owner van Merksteijn was also thrilled with the success as saw his all-Dutch team win its class at the first attempt.

"This is crazy," he said. "Every team member has worked untiringly. Above all, Jos drove like a young stud. My job was actually only to bring the RS Spyder back to the pits without injuries and not to lose too much time to Jos and Jeroen. This worked. Porsche's support was excellent and the co-operation couldn't have been better."

The Team Essex car of John Nielsen, Casper Elgaard and Sascha Maassen looked set to challenge for the LMP2 win before being delayed by a misfire and two slow punctures slowed the progress of the second RS Spyder in the race, although it still took the flag second in class.

"It's incredibly moving to secure second at our very first 24 hour race as a team," Nielsen, a former overall winner of the race, said afterwards.

 

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