Porsche takes up the qualifying race for the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (China) from positions five and six. In the hotly contested qualifying on the 6.115- kilometre Guia Circuit, the Porsche works drivers Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) narrowly missed out on a better grid position. Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France), who contests the race in Macau for the customer team Craft Bamboo Racing, achieved tenth place. His teammate Darryl O’Young from Hong Kong qualified on P13.
Bamber made his intentions clear with a top time in free practice. In the qualifying session, the two-time Le Mans winner pulled out all stops in the first lap in cooler conditions and made sure he got a free run in his attempt to claim P1. At times, the New Zealander topped the time sheets in the ca. 500 hp No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R, but was eventually knocked off the top spot. His works driver teammate Vanthoor followed in the No. 911 sister car just 0.131-seconds behind.
Jaminet, who races for the first time on the legendary Guia Circuit in Macau, took things cautiously after an encounter with the barriers. With his personal best time in the last minute, the Frenchman secured tenth place. Just 65 kilometres from his home in Hong Kong, local hero O’Young also touched the guardrails and was also hampered by a puncture.
The qualifying race over twelve laps starts on Saturday, 17 November, at 13.05 hrs local time (06.05 hrs CET). The main race over 18 laps takes off on Sunday, 18 November, at 12.25 hrs local time (05.25 hrs CET).
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “After the qualifying we’re not quite where we thought we would be. Ultimately we were only two or three tenths of a second off the second grid row, and not much more off second place. You have to take your hat off to the polesitter – a strong lap. To start such a city race from the third grid row is definitely not ideal. Based on this, it’ll be a difficult qualifying race for us.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “We’re all very close. This shows that we made the most out of what we had. But we’re not happy. The car’s balance wasn’t great. At midday, when the temperature in free practice got considerably warmer, everything went better, but then that changed in the cooler conditions of the qualifying. We didn’t get the front tyres to the right temperature, which led to understeer – and personally I don’t like that at all.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “In free practice the car was a dream to drive, which we underlined by setting the top time. It was cooler in the qualifying. Perhaps we didn’t opt for the right tyres. We hadn’t changed the car since midday, but the balance just wasn’t as good. This coupled with traffic during some laps made it difficult. Our car runs well over the distance, our top speed is good, so I’m feeling optimistic about the qualifying race.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #991): “I had bad luck on the first qualifying lap. The brakes didn’t respond as I’d imagined and I touched the guardrail. Such things are not great for the self-confidence that you definitely need on such a racetrack. I hope we can improve by the qualifying race. My starting position isn’t the best, let’s see what’s still possible.”
Darryl O’Young (Porsche 911 GT3 R #55): “The car felt better than ever before. But I experienced an incident typical of Macau: I brushed the barrier and sustained tyre damage after I drove over parts left by other cars. It’s a pity because I certainly feel that I could have done much more. I can only look ahead now. The decision will be made in the main race on Sunday. A lot can happen. Perhaps it’ll rain – then the cards will be reshuffled.”
1. Raffaele Marciello (I), Mercedes AMG GT3, 2:16.800 minutes
2. Augusto Farfus (BR), BMW M6 GT3, + 0.557 seconds
3. Maro Engel (D), Mercedes AMG GT3, + 0.622 seconds
4. Edoardo Mortara (CH), Mercedes AMG GT3, + 0.631 seconds
5. Earl Bamber (NZL), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.917 seconds
6. Laurens Vanthoor (B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.048 seconds
7. Robin Frijns (NL), Audi R8 LMS, + 1.242 seconds
8. Christopher Haase (D), Audi R8 LMS, + 1.779 seconds
9. Dries Vanthoor (B), Audi R8 LMS, + 1.894 seconds
10. Mathieu Jaminet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.449 seconds
11. Alexandre Imperatori (HKG), NISMO GT-R GT3, X+ 2.521 seconds
12. Adderly Fong (HKG), Audi R8 LMS, + 3.200 seconds
13. Darryl O’Young (HKG), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 3.573 seconds
14. Oliver Jarvis (GB), NISMO GT-R GT3, + 3.611 seconds
15. Tsugio Matsuda (J), NISMO GT-R GT3, + 4.910 seconds