Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet

Race report

Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet
FIA World Endurance Championship, round 8 in Sakhir/Bahrain, Race report
Podium for Porsche at the season finale in the desert

The new Porsche 911 RSR has celebrated a successful race debut at the season finale of the sports car World Endurance Championship. At the six-hour race in Bahrain on Saturday, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) scored second in the hotly-contested GTE-Pro class. Their factory pilot colleagues had already underlined the potential of the further-developed race car from Weissach during qualifying when they posted the quickest time to secure the first pole position of the season. In Bahrain, the Porsche AG Team Manthey squad fielded the 911 RSR - which also set the second quickest qualifying time - featuring technical modifications with which they will contest the 2014 motorsport season.

At the race on the Bahrain International Circuit, which was largely contested in the dark, Patrick Pilet got away cleanly to head the GT field. In the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR, he managed to fend off his rivals’ attacks during the first hour of racing and held on to the lead until the first pit stop. In the battle for their maiden victory this season, he and Joerg Bergmeister enjoyed a gripping duel with a Ferrari and finally had to settle for a close second. After Le Mans, Sao Paulo, Fuji and Shanghai, this marks the fifth podium result for the Porsche works drivers this season.

However, for Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, the race on the Formula 1 circuit in the desert proved ill-fated. In just the fourth lap, the Le Mans winners had to bury their hopes of claiming their second success this year: In the second 911 RSR (number 92), start driver Richard Lietz was unluckily hit by another competitor who spun right in front of him, forcing Lietz into the pits to change a damaged rear wheel. This put him a lap down on the leader. Despite consistently quick lap times and smooth pit stops, the gap could not be closed over the course of the race. The Porsche pilots finally saw the flag in fourth.

Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “All in all it was a conciliatory conclusion to the season. Our modified 911 RSR ran well. It was a real shame that our number 92 car was hit in just the fourth lap. That of course affected the mood a little. I would like to thank the entire team, especially the drivers, for another flawless performance. The way Marc drove despite suffering from a gastro-intestinal bug is truly admirable. This maiden season with our 911 RSR was dominated, of course, by the incredible double victory in Le Mans. We struggled somewhat in the first races, but afterwards things improved. If we can continue next season from where we have left off here, then 2014 could prove to be a very good year for Porsche.”
Patrick Pilet (#91): “Second place off the bat with the new car is a great result. The handling of our 911 RSR was really good. That it wasn’t enough to win was due to the fact that we lost a little time towards the end of the stints with deteriorating tyres. Still, it was a pleasing end to the season. I’m already looking forward to 2014.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to win. At the beginning of the stint we could match the pace quite well, but then our rear tyres deteriorated. Now we have several things to do over the winter – then we’ll be back in action next year.”
Marc Lieb (#92): “That was a disappointing race for us. When you start from pole you should finish up at the front. This wasn’t our fault today – it was because an LMP2 pilot hit our 911 RSR shortly after the start. Richie had to drive an entire lap with a puncture, and that cost us a lot of time. It’s such a shame, because we were right up there as far as speed was concerned. When your chances are dashed because of someone else, it’s particularly bitter. I personally found the race very tough because of my infection. I’m glad I managed to finish my two stints. Luckily I have a great teammate whom I can rely on when it counts.”
Richard Lietz (#92): “Our car has proven itself. It was quick in both the qualifying and the race. The tyres lasted much longer than at the previous race in Shanghai, but we’ve still got some work to do on this. It was bad luck that I was brought down in my first stint, otherwise we surely would have done better. But you have to look at it positively: We have a good car for next year, anything is possible in 2014. With Marc not feeling 100%, I had a bit more on my plate today.”

Race result

GTE-Pro class
1. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 175 laps
2. Bergmeister/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 175
3. Fisichella/Kobayashi (I/J), Ferrari F458 Italia, 174
4. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 174

GTE-Am class
1. Nygaard/Poulsen/Thiim (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 173 laps
2. Potolicchio/Aguas/Rigon (I/P/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 172
3. Collard/Griffin/Perrodo (FRA/IRL/FRA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 172
4. Bornhauser/Canal/Rees (FRA/FRA/BRA), Chevrolet Corvette, 171
5. Hall/Campbell-Walter/Goethe (GB/GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, 169
6. Narac/Vernay/Palttala (F/F/SF), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 162

Points’ standings after 8 of 8 races

World Cup for Manufacturers GTE
1. Ferrari, 255 points
2. Aston Martin, 246.5
3. Porsche, 230.5

World Endurance Cup for GT drivers
1. Gianmaria Bruni (Ferrari), 145 points
2. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ferrari), 135
3. Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke (Aston Martin), 126
4. Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz (Porsche), 123
5. Toni Vilander (Ferrari), 108
6. Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet (Porsche), 99.5

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Am drivers
1. Jamie Campbell-Walter, Stuart Hall (Aston Martin), 129 points
2. Rui Aguas, Vicente Potolicchio (Ferrari), 128
3. Jean-Karl Vernay, Raymond Narac (Porsche), 122
4. Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen (Aston Martin), 104.5
5. Julien Canal, Patrick Bornhauser (Chevrolet), 97
6. Christian Ried, Paolo Ruberti, Gianluca Roda (Porsche), 82.5

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Pro teams
1. AF Corse (Ferrari No. 51), 145 points
2. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin No. 97), 136.5
3. Porsche AG Team Manthey (Porsche No. 92), 126
4. Porsche AG Team Manthey (Porsche No. 91), 109.5
5. AF Corse (Ferrari No. 71), 105
6. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin No. 99), 84

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Am teams
1. 8 Star Motorsports (Ferrari No. 81), 136 points
2. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin No. 86), 133
3. IMSA Performance Matmut (Porsche No. 76), 122
6. Proton Competition (Porsche No. 88), 90.5

The Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC

In the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC, sports prototypes and GT vehicles start in four classes: LMGTE-Pro, LMGTE-Am, LMP1 and LMP2. They all compete together in one race but are classified separately

All reports on the previous season can be found in our archive.