Porsche 911 RSR sets best time in the first qualifying session

Patrick Pilet (Porsche 911 RSR #93): “The nine-eleven felt good. We had to cope with a lot of traffic, as well. The changes we made between the free practice and qualifying worked well. But if we want to stand on pole we need to improve and this is what we’ll definitely do over the next two qualifying sessions.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #93): “Our qualifying was okay. Our car was fast, but unfortunately we encountered a lot of traffic. We can do so much better if we manage to get a free run in the second and third qualifying sessions on Thursday.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #93): “The car was quick, but the traffic out on the track was heavy. We collected a lot of data for various setups, which will be particularly beneficial for the race. There was just one minor incident where we had to exchange a few body parts. Otherwise everything ran smoothly.”

Timo Bernhard (Porsche 911 RSR #94): “That was an exciting first day. We learned a great deal about the car’s handling and we tweaked the setup accordingly. Now we’re on the right track. Sven put in a good lap, even though he had a bit of traffic to contend with. Still, we have work to do in terms of the race setup. We hope it stays dry for the second qualifying so that we can make progress in this regard.”

Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 RSR #94): “Everything went really well and we managed to gradually improve. Our goal was to give the drivers as many laps as possible so that we could setup and improve the car. We’re on the right track and now have to continue in the same way to qualify for top-five spot.”

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team (93), Earl Bamber (NZ), Patrick Pilet (F), Nick Tandy (GB), Le Mans 2018
Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team (93), Earl Bamber (NZ), Patrick Pilet (F), Nick Tandy (GB), Le Mans 2018

Sven Müller (Porsche 911 RSR #94): “Today was my first time driving in the dark at Le Mans. It was quite a challenge but I’m pleased with my laps. Unfortunately I encountered a lot of traffic in the Porsche Curves, and that prevented me from turning an optimal lap. But we still have two qualifying sessions to improve.”

Jörg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 RSR #56): “Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a really fast lap in. It started well, my sector times were good, but then I got held up by traffic in all three laps and that made a fast time impossible.”

Julien Andlauer (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “The first qualifying went really well and we were second fastest. We managed to tick everything off our schedule and further optimise the vehicle. The car was very fast and very consistent, which makes us all the more optimistic for the race. However, we still have two qualifying sessions ahead of us and we’ll keep pushing.”

Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team (94), Timo Bernhard (D), Romain Dumas (F), Sven Müller (D), Le Mans 2018
Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team (94), Timo Bernhard (D), Romain Dumas (F), Sven Müller (D), Le Mans 2018

Christina Nielsen (Porsche 911 RSR #80): “I think the first laps at night are fascinating for every driver. The temperatures drop and the tyres offer increasingly more grip. We tried the soft and extra-soft tyres, both compounds felt good. Driving in the dark on the Le Mans racetrack with a lot of traffic is very tricky. You probably only really find your rhythm when you’ve driven one or two night stints during the race.”

Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 RSR #88): “I’m very pleased with my lap – it was clean and free of traffic. I take my hat off to the engineers who have done a great job with setting up the Porsche. Whether accelerating, braking or taking corners, the car handles well in every situation and is easy to drive.”

Ben Barker (Porsche 911 RSR #86): “Like many other drivers, we had to battle with heavy traffic out on the track. We had to make a few changes to the car to be even faster and more competitive.”

Patrick Long (Porsche 911 RSR #99): “We didn’t attempt a fast lap because we’re working on a setup for the race. And we’ll continue to do this in the next two qualifying sessions.”

Results of qualifying 1 on next page