At the qualifying race, Porsche has secured a spot on the third grid row for the main race of the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (China). Earl Bamber (New Zealand) finished in fifth position in a hotly contested qualifying race amongst the frontrunners. His works driver colleague Laurens Vanthoor did not reach the finish. Shortly at the start, the Belgian was shunted into the barrier by another contestant. Vanthoor did not sustain injuries in the accident. Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France) qualified his Porsche on ninth, with his teammate Darryl O’Young from Hong Kong on 13th.
Immediately after the start of the 12-lap qualifying race, the two 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Manthey Racing chased down the leading vehicles. While Bamber managed to avoid a collision, Vanthoor was suddenly shunted into the barriers by an astray Mercedes. The Belgian was unable to gain control of his No. 911 car and hit the guardrail sideways. After the safety car phase, Bamber resumed his pursuit of the frontrunners. The pace of the two-time Le Mans winner was strong, however, with parts of the Guia Circuit only seven metres wide, there was no room for him to attempt a safe overtaking manoeuvre.
Jaminet concluded his maiden race on the 6.115-kilometre street circuit in the gambling paradise of Macau on ninth. During the qualifying race, the Frenchman continued to improve in the Porsche 911 GT3 R run by the Craft Bamboo Racing customer team and explored the limits of the racetrack. His teammate Darryl O’Young secured his position in the race and takes up the 2018 GT World Cup from 13th on the grid in front of home crowds.
The main race of the 18-lap 2018 FIA GT World Cup begins on Sunday, 18 November, at 12.25 hrs local time (05.25 hrs CET).
Comments on the qualifying race
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “The scenario immediately after the start, where Laurens was pushed into the wall through no fault of his own, has to be looked at closely. It’s incredibly annoying, because now I’m afraid we can’t contest the main race with this car. Earl defended his position and put up a great fight. Unfortunately, he couldn’t completely close the gap to the front. On Sunday we have to see what we can achieve from fifth on the grid.”
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “Our start was good. Earl and Laurens positioned themselves cleverly. Unfortunately, the No. 911 car was hit from the side by a Mercedes – very bad luck in my view. The crash into the barriers threw the car out of the race. Earl then held his position well. He managed to keep up with the cars in front. We’ll analyse the qualifying race and go all-out again on Sunday.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “It’s such a shame that my race was over so quickly. We were both on the straight fighting against the Mercedes, one on each side. Then Edoardo (Mortara) and Earl touched. After that, “Edo” crashed into the side of my car. I couldn’t control the car. I hit the barrier hard, but I’m okay. Unfortunately the car isn’t. I’d be amazed if the team managed to repair my badly damaged Porsche by tomorrow.”
Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “What happened to Laurens at the start was definitely not okay. We were both fighting with the Mercedes, which nudged me first and then crashed into the side of Laurens’ car – totally unnecessary from my perspective. I had a good race. As expected, our speed was great over the distance. I could match the pace of the frontrunners but I couldn’t get past them. We have a good car for this racetrack, there’s no doubt about that. We’ll attack again in the main race.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #991): “When I saw the accident in the first lap my only thought was that hopefully Laurens is okay. I’m relieved that nothing happened to him. I managed to get past the accident site without problems. Afterwards it was difficult to find a rhythm. I’ve been struggling with something in my car the whole time. We need to keep looking for a better setup, particularly with the brakes. Still, I finished the race without incident. Things can only get better for me in the main race.”
Result qualifying race
1. Augusto Farfus (BR), BMW M6 GT3, 12 laps
2. Raffaele Marciello (I), Mercedes AMG GT3, 12 laps
3. Maro Engel (D), Mercedes AMG GT3, 12 laps
4. Edoardo Mortara (CH), Mercedes AMG GT3, 12 laps
5. Earl Bamber (NZL), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 12 laps
6. Robin Frijns (NL), Audi R8 LMS, 12 laps
7. Christopher Haase (D), Audi R8 LMS, 12 laps
8. Dries Vanthoor (B), Audi R8 LMS, 12 laps
9. Mathieu Jaminet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 12 laps
10. Alexandre Imperatori (HKG), NISMO GT-R GT3, 12 laps
11. Adderly Fong (HKG), Audi R8 LMS, 12 laps
12. Oliver Jarvis (GB), NISMO GT-R GT3, 12 laps
13. Darryl O’Young (HKG), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 12 laps
14. Laurens Vanthoor (B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 0 laps
15. Tsugio Matsuda (J), NISMO GT-R GT3, 0 laps