During qualifying at Silverstone today, Porsche’s works drivers Richard Lietz (A) and Michael Christensen (DK) planted the number 91 911 RSR on the fourth grid spot in the GTE-Pro class. In the sister 911 RSR run by the Porsche Manthey squad, their French factory driver team-mates Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet set the sixth quickest time.
The GTE-AM cars of the Dempsey-Proton and Abu Dhabi-Proton teams both gave respectable performances throughout the session, which saw the number 88 911 in third place and the 77 car of Patrick Dempsey’s team managing seventh on the grid. Patrick Long, the Porsche factory driver that’s embedded with the Dempsey-Proton team, said “We further improved the balance of our car and that gives me confidence for the race.” Team owner and a very tired looking Patrick Dempsey said “The entire weekend is a huge challenge for me. I was unable to attend the official test in Le Castellet and I arrived at Silverstone late. Nevertheless, since yesterday I’ve learned a great deal on this unfamiliar track. Although I’m losing time in the fast corners, I’m already feeling great on the technically demanding parts of the circuit.”
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport said “I’m okay with the result of the number 91 car. It’s what we expected. But I’m not completely satisfied with the time of the #92 911 RS. We’ll analyse why we weren’t faster. Our former junior Klaus Bachler performed extremely well for our customer team Abu Dhabi Proton Racing. Third in the GTE-Am class is a superb achievement and it underlines what the 911 RSR is capable of.”
The affable Dane Michael Christensen said “It was new for me to have both drivers qualify the car in the WEC. The track conditions changed since yesterday’s practice and it was interesting to see how our 911 RSR handled these conditions. Everything ran as expected. This looks good for the race, also with regard to the tyres.” His team-mate Richard Lietz was also brimming with confidence for the race tomorrow and had this to say “Our tyres faded only marginally and that makes me confident for the race. Tomorrow we have six hours to make up positions.”
A despondent Frédéric Makowiecki said “That wasn’t easy today. We had too little grip and we don’t know what caused it yet. But our engineers will find out. For the race we’ll definitely be in a much better position.” Patrick Pilet added “That wasn’t such a great qualifying. Since free practice, the grip level on the track has changed considerably. It’s a shame, because yesterday we were going very well. But the race is long and a lot can happen.”
1. Nygaard/Sörensen/Thiim (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 1:59.970 minutes
2. MacDowall/Stanaway/Rees (GB/NZ/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.205 sec.
3. Turner/Mücke (GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.363
4. Christensen/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.681
5. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, + 0.731
6. Makowiecki/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.621
1. Lamy/Dalla Lana/Lauda (P/CAN/A), Aston Martin Vantage, 2:01.998 minutes
2. Roda/Ruberti/Poulsen (I/I/DK), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.939 sec.
3. Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi (D/A/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.136
4. Collard/Perrodo/Aguas (F/F/P), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.484
5. Shaytar/Bertolini/Basov (RUS/I/RUS), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 2.116
6. Castellacci/Goethe/Hall (I/D/GB), Aston Martin, + 3.052
7. Dempsey/Long/Seefried (USA/USA/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 4.026