Two Porsche 911 RSR racers will start round eight of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship from the front of the field on Sunday.
In the qualifying session on the 3.27 mile circuit near Danville in the US state of Virginia, Porsche works driver Nick Tandy (Great Britain) secured pole position in the GTLM class for the second time this season. Tandy clocked a track-record lap of 1:42.532 (114.813 mph) to capture the pole and give the Porsche North America team a clean sweep of the front row for Round 10 of the TUDOR Championship. Tandy will co-drive the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR with Patrick Pilet. Joerg Bergmeister qualified second with a lap of 1:42.629 (114.704 mph) in the team’s No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR he shares with Earl Bamber.
The Le Mans overall winner shares the cockpit of Porsche North America’s 911 RSR with Patrick Pilet (France), with whom he shared victory at the last two races at Bowmanville and Road America. Tandy is the first GT driver since the Tudor United SportsCar Championship began in 2014 to have secured the front grid spot for a race three times.
Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister planted the second 911 RSR campaigned by Porsche North America on the second grid spot. His teammate is Le Mans outright winner Earl Bamber, who recently set pole position at Road Atlanta. Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler and American driver Bryan Sellers take up the race from the fourth row at the wheel of the 911 RSR, fielded by the Falken Tire customer team.
Steffen Höllwarth, Programme Manager Tudor United SportsCar Championship told us “This was an incredibly strong performance by the entire squad. Now the hard work that we’ve invested in this project over the last days and weeks is paying off. To have both cars on the first grid row – there’s no better starting position for a race than that. Together we will do our utmost to get the most out of it.”
British driver Tandy had this to say about his performance “Clearly we’re on a good run, but honestly, I think a lot of today came down to track temperature. That sounds stupid, but we’ve learned this weekend it makes a huge difference. When you look at the practice this morning we were really fighting with the cars, but in the light of the afternoon when the track is a lot hotter, we were right above the competition. We knew the times would be a lot slower, we have that experience, we learned that from other motorsports. For a points situation, it’s a perfect result, but it’s Saturday and if tomorrow the conditions are a bit different, it could be a different story.
(On the team sweeping the front row): “For sure, starting on the front row makes the start of the race much more simple, because we can dictate how we’ll start the race more or less. You’ll have a lot less combat with your teammate trying to get past you. If the 912 is quicker than us, they will be ahead, simply the same with the other cars. But it’s the polar opposite of where we were at Road America where we were starting from the back. So statistically we should be in better shape than at Road America.
(On going for the overall victory): “It means a lot when you take the chequered flag. We race in multi-class racing, and you take the chequered flag, but to be the one where the chequered flag falls, it’s an occasion. Whoever takes the win in GTLM will take the chequered flag, it might not mean a lot to some, but to the people involved, it’s something very important.”
Jörg Bergmeister , driver of the number 912 Porsche 911 RSR said “I didn’t expect us to be so far up the grid. My first qualifying laps weren’t so great. Still, we only narrowly missed out on the pole. It’s a great starting position.”
The race starts on Sunday at 13.05 hrs local time (19.05 hrs CEST) and runs over 2:40 hrs. It will be broadcast on the Internet under www.imsa.com. The qualifying video is posted below.
1. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:42.532 minutes
2. Bamber/Bergmeister (NZ/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.097 seconds
3. Kaffer/Fisichella (D/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.590
4. Edwards/Luhr (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, + 0.792
5. Auberlen/Werner (USA/D), BMW Z4 GTE, + 0.824
6. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, + 1.036
7. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, + 1.265
8. Henzler/Sellers (D/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.602
1. Haase/von Moltke (D/USA), Audi R8 LMS, 1:49.220 minutes
2. Lindsey/Pumpelly (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT America, + 0.010 seconds
3. Sweedler/Bell (USA/USA), Ferrari 458 Italia, + 0.257