Porsche has secured a good starting position to tackle the six-hour race in Fuji, Japan.
During qualifying for round five of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC, which is held on the challenging Grand Prix circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji on Sunday, the Porsche works drivers Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki from France planted their Porsche 911 RSR on the third grid spot in the GTE-Pro class. Their factory team mates Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria), racing together for the first time in the WEC, posted the sixth quickest time.
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “We’re not totally happy about this result. One of our cars is not really where it should be. Still, it’s a good starting place for the race. We are ahead of the two Ferrari and that’s our objective at the moment. We’ve concentrated on the race and the balance and set-up are good, so we’re feeling quite confident.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (#92): “We found a good set-up in free practice. We have to change a few things for the race, but we’re on the right track. We’re matching Ferrari’s pace. The race runs over six hours and we’ll do our very best.”
Patrick Pilet (#92): “That wasn’t an easy stint. My tyres worked really well for two laps but then they dropped off rapidly and this made our car hard to drive. For the race we have to improve the balance, but basically it’s good. In qualifying it’s not quite enough yet for a front spot, but the situation could look very different in the race.”
Jörg Bergmeister (#91): “The car proved difficult to drive at first but then it progressively improved. Had I not made a mistake in my last lap I would have been further up the grid.”
Richard Lietz (#91): “I did my best and I’m happy with the result. The car felt good. Unfortunately, the balance came a little late and I had to pit again. I think we’ve found a good race set-up and this makes me optimistic. We knew we’d have it tough in qualifying, but the race is six hours long and a lot can happen.”
1. MacDowall/O’Young/Rees (GB/HK/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 1:39.886 minutes
2. Turner/Mücke (GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.345 sec.
3. Makowiecki/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.459
4. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.485
5. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, + 0.514
6. Bergmeister/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.597
1. Lamy/Dalla Lana/Nygaard (P/CAN/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 1:40.230 minutes
2. Wyatt/Rugolo/Bertolini (AUS/I/I), Ferrari F 458 Italia, + 0.394 sec.
3. Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Stanaway (DK/DK/NZ), Aston Martin, + 0.408
4. Curtis/Bleekemolen/Skeen (USA/NL/USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0,446
5. Collard/Perrodo/Vaxivière (FRA/FRA/FRA), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.600
6. Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi (D/A/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.765