Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium hosts round two of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC on Saturday. The Porsche GT Team used the 25-minute qualifying on Friday to prepare for the six-hour race. Both newly developed, 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR conducted a relatively short qualifying session in order to preserve the tyres for the race. In the GTE-Pro class, the #91 vehicle shared by Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) posted the fifth quickest time in qualifying. Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) planted the sister car with the starting number 92 on the sixth grid spot.
The customer squads Dempsey Proton Racing and Gulf Racing contest the GTE AM class with the Porsche 911 RSR (model year 2015). With the Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy), Christian Ried (Germany) and Marvin Dienst (Germany), Dempsey Proton Racing set the second quickest qualifying time. Michael Wainwright and Ben Barker from Great Britain and Australian Nick Foster tackle the race for Gulf Racing from fifth place.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “We’re not surprised about our qualifying positions, because we’re implementing a different strategy compared to Silverstone. During qualifying, we deliberately focussed on preparing for the race and after the first hour of racing we’ll know how we measure up to the competition with the new 911 RSR.”
Richard Lietz (911 RSR #91): “We were hoping we’d do a little better in qualifying, but the grip wasn’t quite what we wanted in my first lap. If the temperature gets warmer our tyres should perform better, so in this regard I’m feeling quite optimistic.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (911 RSR #91): “Our qualifying went well. Let’s see what effect the difference to the top qualifying time will have on Saturday’s race.”
Michael Christensen (911 RSR #92): “I’m not completely happy with our qualifying performance, but we’ll see what happens in the race. Six hours is a long time and we’ve been very sparing with our tyres.”
Kévin Estre (911 RSR #92): “You noticed how every manufacturer had a different strategy when it came to using fresh sets of tyres. We were very conservative in qualifying, but it’s what happens in the end that counts.”
Matteo Cairoli, Porsche Young Professional (911 RSR #77): “My qualifying lap was quite tough and I was pretty much at the limit. Taking up the race from second on the grid is good, but pole position is not so decisive in a six-hour race.”
The six-hour race takes off on Saturday, 6 May, at 14.30 hours.
1. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, 2:15.018 minutes
2. Mücke/Pla/Johnson (D/F/USA), Ford GT, + 0.401 seconds
3. Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani (GB/GB/BRA), Ford GT, + 0.548
4. Calado/Pier Guidi (I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 0.748
5. Lietz/Makowiecki (A/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.845
6. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.993
7. Thiim/Soerensen/Stanaway (DK/DK/NZ), Aston Martin, + 2.139
8. Turner/Adam/Serra (GB/GB/BRA), Aston Martin, + 2.623
1. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CAN/P/A), Aston Martin, 2:18.659 minutes
2. Ried/Cairoli/Dienst (D/I/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.406 seconds
3. Flohr/Castellacci/Molina (CZE/I/E), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 0.999
4. Mok/Sawa/Griffin (MYS/J/IRL), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 2.256
5. Wainwright/Barker/Foster (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, + 3.642