A strong performance from the Porsche 911 RSR: In qualifying for the six-hour race in Bahrain, the two 470 hp race cars from Weissach posted the fastest time in the GTE-Pro class and take up the final round of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC on Saturday from the first row for the first time this season. The Porsche AG Team Manthey squad fields the 911 RSR in Bahrain, featuring modifications with which they will contest the 2014 motorsport season.
Pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit was secured by Porsche works drivers and Le Mans winners Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) in the 911 RSR with the starting number 92 ahead of their factory pilot colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France), who share the number 91 cockpit.
The qualifying in the WEC takes real teamwork. Two drivers must qualify one car for the race. The grid positions for the race are determined by the average of the two fastest timed qualifying laps of each of these drivers.
Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “Over the last months we’ve been working at high pressure to improve the balance of the aerodynamics in the 911 RSR and also to increase the speed on the straights. Today, the new car has lived up to what we had expected. We’ll now have to see just how good it is in the race tomorrow. Still, the first and second spot in qualifying is a strong showing, particularly with this qualifying format where the two fastest laps of each driver determine the starting position. Taking this into account, our new 911 RSR has shown very good continuity. We’re looking forward to the race.”
Marc Lieb (#92): “Places one and two in qualifying are a really great result. We knew that it would be very difficult to keep the tyres constant over four laps, but we managed it really well. Richie did a great job on the first two laps, and then I just had to bring the thing home. The new car is a real step up - you can see this with the times. And it feels better too. We back in action and can keep up better on the straights. Our engineers in Weissach have done a really fabulous job.”
Richard Lietz (#92): “You don’t get a better result than this. The new car responded in qualifying just as we’d hoped for. So I was able to drive two very quick laps. Now if we can get the tyres through a stint without them deteriorating too much and losing grip, then things look good for the race.”
Patrick Pilet (#91): “This is a perfect result for the team. We didn’t expect such a strong showing in qualifying, although our further developed car was already performing well in practice. We’re making a few changes for the race so that we compete with the best set-up, but I’m feeling very confident. It’ll be a great day for Porsche if we do as well tomorrow.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “That was the best qualifying of the season for Porsche. Now we’re feeling very confident for the race. We’ll surely be in a position to overtake one or the other opponent with the new car.”
1. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:58.833 minutes
2. Bergmeister/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.127 seconds
3. Turner/Mücke (GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.203
4. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.216
5. Stanaway/Lamy/Senna (NZ/P/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.334
6. Fisichella/Kobayashi (I/J), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.626
1. Nygaard/Poulsen/Thiim (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 2:00.303 minutes
2. Potolicchio/Aguas/Rigon (I/P/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.034
3. Hall/Campbell-Walter/Goethe (GB/GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.193
4. Collard/Griffin/Perrodo (FRA/IRL/FRA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.224
5. Narac/Vernay/Palttala (F/F/SF), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.577
6. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.987
The race starts on Saturday at 15.00 hrs local time (13.00 CET). Eurosport 2 broadcasts the race live from 18.00 to 19.00 hrs CET. Eurosport International televises highlights at 21.30 hrs CET. The race can be watched live on www.fiawec.com.
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