Motorsport News, FIA GT World Cup in Macau/China – Qualification race, Qualifying
Best Porsche 911 GT3 R on the first grid row
With his Porsche 911 GT3 R, Earl Bamber tackles the FIA GT World Cup from the first grid row in Macau on Sunday. The Porsche works driver from New Zealand and Le Mans outright winner from 2015 secured a good starting position with second place in the qualification race on the legendary 6.115-kilometre city circuit in the former Portuguese colony. Third is occupied by his teammate Kévin Estre (France) in the second Porsche 911 GT3 R run under the direction of Manthey Racing.
In the 500 hp customer sports racers, which were designed in Weissach for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car, the Porsche factory drivers made a perfect start in the twelve-lap fight for pole position. Earl Bamber snatched one position in the first lap to settle into second. Kévin Estre got off the line even better and catapulted from sixth to third place. Because it is difficult to overtake on this unique racetrack with its long straights and a combination of very tight and fast corners, the order at the front stayed the same to the finish. At the restarts after two safety car phases, the Porsche pilots succeeded in defending their positions against strong opposition from Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes.
Comments on the qualification race
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “That was a somewhat turbulent start to the critical phase here in Macau. Kévin got away brilliantly at the start and now we have a really great starting position for the race. We also came through without any damages, which, as we’ve seen with the safety car phases, is not so easy on this racetrack. Tomorrow it’s all about the World Cup.”
Alex Stehlig, Programme Manager Macau: “That was a great race. We managed to improve on our position from the qualifying. It’s very important to start tomorrow’s race from the first grid row, because tomorrow is what counts. We mustn’t forget that we’re new here and we’re competitive with the 911 GT3 R right from the get-go. If everything goes well we could win the race tomorrow.”
Earl Bamber (911 GT3 R #911): “That was a fantastic race and a little taste of what the fans can expect tomorrow. It’s a great result for Porsche. Obviously I tried to put the leader under pressure but I didn’t want to risk too much. We witnessed just how quickly you can end up hitting the guard rail or wall here. Tomorrow’s race is important and today we’ve secured a good starting position.”
Kévin Estre (911 GT3 R #912): “I’m very pleased with my race. Gaining three positions at the start doesn’t happen often, in fact not at all on this track. Normally there’s only one place to overtake here. I had a bit of a scare at one point when an Audi spun in front of me and I just squeezed past. Other than that everything went well. I’m now looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
The grid positions for the FIA GT World Cup
1. Laurens Vanthoor (B), Audi R8
2. Earl Bamber (NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R
3. Kévin Estre (F), Porsche 911 GT3 R
4. Maro Engel (D), Mercedes GT3
5. Renger van der Zande (NL), Mercedes GT3
6. Adderly Fong (HK), Bentley
7. Nicky Catsburg (NL), BMW M6
8. Fabian Plentz (D), Audi R8
The 18-lap race on the Guia Circuit takes off on Sunday at 12:55 hrs local time (05:55 hrs CEST) with live free-viewing on http://www.fia.com/macau-grand-prix-live-stream.
911 GT3 RS: Fuel consumption combined 12.7 l/100 km; urban 19.2 l/100 km; extra urban 8.9 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 296 g/km; efficiency class (Germany): G