Race stopped after three attempted starts due to torrential rain

The race debut of the new Porsche 911 RSR in Fuji, Japan, was literally a washout. Round six of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC was suspended twice on Sunday after formation laps behind the safety car due to heavy rainfall. After a third attempt to start with another safety car lap, the race was finally cancelled one and a half hours before the scheduled end.

Because safety car laps count towards the race according to the WEC regulations, the Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) were classified third in the GTE-Pro class, with their factory pilot colleagues Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) in fourth.

Marco Ujhasi, Product Project Manager 911 RSR: “We can’t understand the reason for terminating the race at this time. No rain had fallen 45 minutes prior to the announcement, at the most a brief shower, so driving would definitely have been possible. The final stop came much too early. For us, the cancellation is particularly hard to swallow, because such conditions would have given us the best chances for a double victory. The 911 RSR is very quick in wet weather and has excellent traction. So unfortunately we were prevented from making up ground to the points’ leaders in the fight for the title.”

Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “It’s a shame for the many spectators. They waited so long and still didn’t get to see us race. Occasionally there were times when we could have raced, but there’s not a lot we can do when the race director says that it’s not possible for safety reasons.”

Patrick Pilet (#91): “We would have loved to compete. It’s a pity for us and a pity for the fans that the race was cancelled. It’s disappointing really to travel so far to Japan and then not be able to race. But now we’re looking ahead to the next round in Shanghai.”

Marc Lieb (#92): “It’s a huge disappointment for us. We had a super car for the rain, we noticed this during the safety car laps. Our 911 RSR and the tyres worked extremely well. The first suspension was undoubtedly justified, and perhaps the second as well, but in between we had a window of at least two hours where we could have driven. Several opponents obviously had a different strategy and this was the reason it was finally stopped. Then I ask myself, why invest so much time with our partner Michelin to develop great wet tyres if we are not allowed to compete.”

Richard Lietz (#92): “The rain we had hoped for arrived. Our car could definitely have gone well under these difficult conditions. Unfortunately the race never got underway, although it would certainly have been possible. What a shame. We’ve put a great deal of work into tyre development and had some great wets. Obviously some others didn’t. Out of consideration for them, the race was then cancelled.”

Round seven of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC is contested on 9 November in Shanghai (China).

Race result
GTE-Pro class

1. Turner/Mücke/Makowiecki (GB/D/F), Aston Martin Vantage, 16 laps
2. Bruni/Fisichella (I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 16
3. Bergmeister/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 16
4. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 16
5. Kobayashi/Vilander (J/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 16
6. Stanaway/Lamy (NZ/P), Aston Martin Vantage, 15

GTE-Am class

1. Nygaard/Poulsen/Senna (DK/DK/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 16 laps
2. Hall/Campbell-Walter/Adam (GB/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 16
3. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 16
4. Potolicchio/Aguas/Rigon (I/P/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 16
5. Narac/Vernay/Palttala (F/F/SF), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 16
6. Krohn/Jönsson/Mediani (USA/S/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 16

Points standings after 6 of 8 races World Cup for Manufacturers GTE

1. Ferrari, 193 points
2. Aston Martin, 188,5
3. Porsche, 176,5

World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers

1. Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni (Ferrari), 108 points
2. Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz (Porsche), 102
3. Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke (Aston Martin), 99,5
4. Bruno Senna (Aston Martin), 76
5. Frédéric Makowiecki (Aston Martin), 73,5
7. Romain Dumas (Porsche), 72
8. Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet (Porsche), 66,5

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Am Drivers

1. Jamie Campbell-Walter, Stuart Hall (Aston Martin), 104 points
2. Jean-Karl Vernay, Raymond Narac (Porsche), 96
3. Rui Aguas, Vicente Potolicchio (Ferrari), 85
4. Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen (Aston Martin), 77,5
6. Christophe Bourret (Porsche), 68
7. Christian Ried, Paolo Ruberti, Gianluca Roda (Porsche), 64,5

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Pro Teams

1. AF Corse (Ferrari), 108 points
2. Porsche AG Team Manthey (Porsche), 102
3. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin), 102,5

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Am Teams

1. Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin), 108 points
2. IMSA Performance Matmut (Porsche), 96
3. 8 Star Motorsports (Ferrari), 93
6. Proton Competition (Porsche), 72,5