Porsche Claims Early World Championship Title

May 6th, 2019 by

Porsche is the new world champion of FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). With positions three and eight for the two Porsche 911 RSR at Spa, the team from Weissach secured an early title at the penultimate round of the 2018/2019 Super Season.

The two leaders of the drivers’ championship, Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark), kept calm in the chaotic weather conditions in Belgium to claim the third podium step after almost six hours of racing. Their driver colleagues Richard Lietz (Austria) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) were running in third place at the end of the race, but were handed a drive-through penalty. The 911 driven by Lietz was shunted from behind by a competitor, which pushed the Austrian into the car in front. For this, a drive-through penalty was imposed. As the race was stopped shortly before the six-hour duration due to the weather, the race director converted it into a time penalty. As a result, the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR was classified in eighth place and Estre/Christensen moved up one position from fourth to third place.

Fans witnessed a turbulent six-hour race at Spa, Belgium. The changing conditions between sunshine, rain, hail and heavy snow presented teams with major challenges. With a total of 15 pit stops, the Porsche GT Team chose the right strategy in the battle for the manufacturers’ championship. After multiple safety car and full-course-yellow phases, the two driver crews Estre/Christensen and Lietz/Bruni never lost their cool and converted the match point into the manufacturers’ world championship title.

The season finale will be contested in France on 15/16 June.

In the GTE-Am class, the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey Proton Racing notched up its third straight win. Sharing the cockpit of the winning car was Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia), Christian Ried (Germany) and Riccardo Pera (Italy). The second best Porsche customer squad was Project 1 in fifth place. The Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) shared driving duties in the No. 56 car with the American Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti from Norway. Gulf Racing with Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining (Austria) and the two British racers Michael Wainwright and Benjamin Barker came seventh. The second Porsche 911 RSR campaigned by Dempsey Proton Racing concluded the race on the 7.004-kilometre “Ardennes rollercoaster” on ninth.

The season finale will be contested in France on 15/16 June. Porsche tackles the venerable 24 Hours of Le Mans as the title defender. In 2018, Estre and Christensen won the race in the Porsche 911 RSR with Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium ahead of their driver colleagues Lietz, Bruni and Frédéric Makowiecki from France.

Comments about the race:
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “For Porsche, this is the continuation of successful years. First, we won six titles with our LMP1 programme, and now the WEC manufacturers’ title in GT racing after a crazy race. Porsche is a major player in motorsport. You can see how motor racing successes can inspire an entire company. I’d like to thank all of our employees who contributed to this outstanding success!”
Pascal Zurlinden (Director GT Factory Motorsport): “It’s hard to find the words to describe how proud I am that we’ve won the manufacturers’ title for Porsche with this incredible team. The race was a rollercoaster of emotions for us. The weather threw everything at us: snow, rain, hail and sunshine. We were at the front and at the back of the field at times. The weather also turned our strategy upside down, but we simply kept pushing our way back up through the field. What a day!”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “Crazy, completely crazy – that’s the best way to describe this race. Most of the time it was really difficult to keep the car on the racetrack and sometimes we had to take a gamble. But the main thing is that we’re the manufacturer world champions! That’s a big success, a huge success. The drivers’ world championship decision will have to wait until Le Mans, but we’re leading by a huge margin.”

Qualifying
The world championship leaders Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) lapped the 7.004-kilometre racetrack near the German border in an average time of 2.13.683 minutes and will take up the six-hour race on Saturday from seventh place.

Under cloudy skies and temperatures of ten degrees Celsius, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) were just 0.153 seconds slower than their brand colleagues on the “Ardennes rollercoaster”. The No. 91 sister car takes up the race from eighth place directly alongside the Porsche 911 RSR of Estre and Christensen.

In the overall classification, the Porsche GT Team holds a 100-point lead over the competition. The factory squad from Weissach can even claim an early world championship title on Saturday (race start 13.30 hrs).

In the GTE-Am class, the Dempsey Proton Racing team narrowly missed out on scoring pole position. The No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) and the Italian father-son duo Gianluca and Giorgio Roda take up the race from second on the grid. The third spot is occupied by Project 1, who currently leads the overall classification. Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) shares driving duties in the Porsche 911 RSR with the American Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti from Norway. Fourth quickest in qualifying was the second 911 run by Dempsey Proton Racing with drivers Christian Ried (Germany), Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia) and Riccardo Pera (Italy). Gulf-Racing with Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining (Austria) and the two British racers Michael Wainwright and Benjamin Barker concluded the qualifying session on eighth.

About The Porsche 911 RSR
The Porsche 911 RSR celebrated its debut in the WEC Sports Car World Championship at Silverstone in 2017. In the current 2018/2019 Super Season, the racer from Weissach has clinched first and second in the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans as well as the GTE-Am category class win. The water-cooled four-litre boxer engine is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. At Le Mans, the number 91 and 92 vehicles raced in a special historic design.

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