The Porsche customer teams have secured solid starting positions in the qualifying for the nine-hour race in Kyalami. The 911 GT3 R fielded by GPX Racing takes up the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season from the fifth grid spot. In Friday’s Pole Shootout, works driver Matt Campbell turned his flying lap on the 4.522-kilometre Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in 1:42.274 minutes. For the race, the Australian shares the cockpit of the No. 12 car with the two Frenchmen Mathieu Jaminet and Patrick Pilet. In the drivers’ championship, the trio currently ranks second just one point behind the leaders. Porsche heads to the fourth and final round holding the lead in the manufacturers’ classification.
The other two Porsche 911 GT3 R missed out on making it into the shootout of the six fastest contenders. The crew sharing Dinamic Motorsport’s No. 54 car used the qualifying session to prepare for the race. After the balance of the 500-hp GT3 vehicle fielded by the Italian customer squad proved not ideal in the previous sessions, Kévin Estre trialled the setup changes in Q1 with more fuel on board. The lag that the Frenchman experienced due to the unfavourable conditions could no longer be offset. New Zealander Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium, however, planted their car on the tenth grid spot in Q2 and Q3. The pair leads the drivers’ championship. The identical vehicle campaigned by Lechner Racing (No. 9, Pro-Am class) and driven by South Africans Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout as well as Dylan Pereira from Luxembourg claimed P11.
The nine-hour race at Kyalami takes off on Saturday, 12 December, at 11am local time (10am CET). The website http://www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com airs the entire season finale via a free live stream. This website also provides live timing.
Quotes on the qualifying and pole shootout
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “Our starting positions are okay. We’re expecting a close race that, despite the nine-hour duration, will have a real sprint character. The GPX team’s car will start in the top group; Dinamic Motorsport’s entry simply hasn’t had the necessary performance yet. We will take a close look with the team at why this might be and work systematically to ensure that the number 54 car can also race amongst the frontrunners. Lechner Racing put in a strong qualifying performance. Rain and thunderstorms are forecast on race day. Anything is possible under such conditions. Our aim is still to win the championship.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #12): “Our starting position for the race is good. Taking up the nine-hour race from the third grid row is promising. The gaps were relatively big in the pole shootout, but I’m confident that this will be different in the race. We expect the competition to be very close and tough over the whole distance. Not too many cars are competing this year, so the likelihood of incidents is considerably lower. It could very well be that we don’t have any caution phases during the entire race. That would make it an exciting and exhausting sprint over nine hours. We’d like to conclude the race with a win and the championship title.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 GT3 R #54): “Somehow there was a glitch with our car at the beginning of the weekend. Because of the poor vehicle balance, we tried a different setup in the first qualifying sessions. Unfortunately, that took us in an even worse direction. Our car oversteers on many sections of the track. The rear gets unstable out of the blue. Our team will now check everything again thoroughly before the start of the race. We hope that we can get rid of the ‘gremlins’ in time for the season finale. If we manage that, everything is still possible in a nine-hour race, even after a disappointing qualifying.”
Saul Hack (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “I’m very pleased. In my qualifying section, I was only seven tenths of a second off the session’s top time. I can live very well with that, because I was up against top professionals. Plus, it was exactly one year ago that I last drove the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Taking all of this into account, we can be really proud of our performance. I take my hat off to my teammates Andre and Dylan, who drove really strong laps. Everything has gone well for us so far. We’re really looking forward to the race.”
1. Farnbacher/v. d. Zande/Baguette (D/NL/B), Honda NSX GT3 #30, 1:41.581 minutes
2. Gounon/Soulet/Pepper (F/B/ZA), Bentley Continental GT3 #7, 1:41,723 minutes
3. Farfus/Catsburg/van der Linde (BR/NL/ZA), BMW M6 GT3 #34, 1:41.891 minutes
5. Campbell/Pilet/Jaminet (AUS/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #12, 1:42.274 minutes
10. Bamber/Vanthoor/Estre (NZ/B/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #54, 1:43.151 minutes
11. Hack/Beziudenhout/Pereira (ZA/ZA/L), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 1:44.961 minutes