Porsche pilots hold good chances in title bid

In the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) still have good chances to win the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers. At the gripping six-hour race on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, the Le Mans winners clinched fourth place in the GTE-Pro class at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR, putting them just three points back in the championship. In the second 911 RSR fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey, their works driver colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) saw the flag in fifth.

The first WEC race on the new Formula 1 circuit near the Texan capital began less than promising for Porsche. At the first pit stop with the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR, with which Joerg Bergmeister had headed into the race from the first GT grid row after a strong qualifying performance, a small amount of residual fuel that had spilled while refuelling ignited. The flames were quickly extinguished, but Patrick Pilet rejoined the race four laps down. In the 911 RSR with the starting number 92, Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz were at times on course for a podium result, but after a spirited fight had to settle for a thankless fourth place.

The Porsche customer team IMSA Performance Matmut, however, scored a podium spot in the GTE-Am class: Frenchmen Jean-Karl Vernay and Raymond Narac claimed third with the 911 GT3 RSR. Fifth position went to Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti at the wheel of Proton Competition’s 911 from last year.

Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “Our drivers and teams put in a strong performance today. After the early incident at the pit stop the result is a fairly acceptable and we are still within striking distance of the championship front-runners. Both cars again proved to be very reliable. But like after Sao Paulo, we’ll now do a performance analysis and sit down with the WEC organisers because we still believe there are some shortfalls in the balance of performance classification of the 911 RSR.”Marc Lieb (#92): “Fourth place is annoying for any race driver. That was not the result we were hoping for. We lacked the consistency today for a podium result.”

Richard Lietz (#92): “Our pit crew did a great job today. We were incredibly quick in changing the tyres. Unfortunately we couldn’t drive any double stints like many of our opponents. That cost us a great deal of time. On top of that, we simply lacked the engine power on the straights due to the balance of power classification of our 911 RSR.”

Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “I was able to match the pace early on. But after our problem during refuelling, our race was practically decided. Still, we managed to earn some championship points.”

Patrick Pilet (#91): “After the commotion of the first pit stop there wasn’t a lot we could do. It’s a shame, because we had a great set-up for the car over the whole weekend and were able to improve from one session to the next.”

Round six of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC is held on 20 October in Fuji/Japan.

Race result

GTE-Pro class
1. Senna/Makowiecki (BRA/F), Aston Martin Vantage, 167 laps
2. Bruni/Fisichella (I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 167
3. Kobayashi/Vilander (J/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 167
4. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 167
5. Bergmeister/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 163

GTE-Am class

1. Hall/Campbell-Walter (GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 165 laps
2. Poulsen/Nygaard/Thiim (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 165
3. Narac/Vernay (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 165
4. Potolicchio/Aguas/Malucelli (I/P/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 164
5. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 163
6. Bornhauser/Canal/Rees (F/F/BRA), Chevrolet Corvette, 163

Points standings after 5 of 8 races World Cup for Manufacturers GTE

1. Ferrari, 182 points
2. Aston Martin, 170
3. Porsche, 163

World Endurance Cup for GT drivers

1. Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni (Ferrari), 99 points
2. Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz (Porsche), 96
3. Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke (Aston Martin), 86
4. Romain Dumas (Porsche), 72 Kamui Kobayashi (Ferrari), 72 Toni Vilander (Ferrari), 72
5. Bruno Senna (Aston Martin), 71
7. Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet (Porsche), 59

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Am drivers

1. Jamie Campbell-Walter, Stuart Hall (Aston Martin), 95 points
2. Jean-Karl Vernay, Raymond Narac (Porsche), 91
3. Rui Aguas, Vicente Potolicchio (Ferrari), 79
5. Christophe Bourret (Porsche), 68
7. Christian Ried, Paolo Ruberti, Gianluca Roda (Porsche), 57

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Pro teams

1. AF Corse (Ferrari), 99 points
2. Porsche AG Team Manthey (Porsche), 99
3. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin), 89

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Am teams

1. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin), 99 points
2. IMSA Performance Matmut (Porsche), 91
2. 8 Star Motorsports (Ferrari), 87
5. Proton Competition (Porsche), 65