The Porsche 919 Hybrid continued to prove its outstanding qualifying performance when taking the fifth pole position in the fifth round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship. It is also the fifth consecutive front row grid lock out for the innovative Le Mans Prototypes from Stuttgart.
The number 18 car of drivers Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) is going to start from pole position for the third time this year. The number 17 car of Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) will be next to them on the grid for tomorrow’s six-hour race at the challenging Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas (US).
In the WEC the average of the best laps of two drivers counts for the grid position. Jani/Lieb achieved an average time of 1:46.211 minutes, with Jani putting in the overall fastest lap with a time of 1:46.018 minutes. Bernhard/Hartley shared qualifying duties in the number 17 car and achieved an average lap time of 1:46.375 minutes.
The fastest of the Porsche 911 RSR takes off into the second half of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Austin on Saturday from the first grid row. Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Richard Lietz (Austria) turned the second quickest time in the GTE-Pro class during qualifying on the Circuit of the Americas outside the Texas capital. Their 470 hp winning racer from Weissach is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car. The French duo Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki planted the second 911 RSR campaigned by Porsche Team Manthey on fifth in class.
Patrick Dempsey put in a stunning performance: The American actor and race driver scored his first pole position with Porsche in the GTE-Am class of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC. He joins forces in the cockpit of 911 RSR fielded by the Dempsey Proton Racing customer squad for Saturday’s race with Patrick Long (USA) and Marco Seefried (Austria). Clinching second place at the Le Mans 24-hour race, the trio celebrated its greatest team success this season.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “It is our ninth pole position in the 12 races since the 919’s debut in 2014, and, again, we also topped the time sheets in all free practice sessions. In our second season everything is really running extremely well for our young team. For the race the most important thing is not to lose focus on the manufacturers’ championship. I’d like to say thank you to the team here on site and back home in Weissach, who make such good results possible by their tireless work.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Today we came up with excitement by ourselves. Because of a sensor problem on the hybrid system, Neel didn’t have the car’s full power system available on his first lap. This was why we wanted him to jump into the car again at the end of the session to be on the safe side. The entire team put in another outstanding performance, especially considering the heat. After we struggled here last year, it is very rewarding to see such a strong performance, which is down to the many developments we did to the car.”
Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director: “Neel lost time on his first lap because of a hybrid system failure, and then in the end he showed what that car is able of. All the drivers once again put in strong performances. Meanwhile, we have an impressive series of one-two finishes in qualifying to our tally. Tomorrow over the long race distance the track temperatures and, therefore, the performance of the tyres will be a crucial factor.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 17
Timo Bernhard (34, Germany): “It was a tight qualifying with another fantastic result for Porsche. My lap was good, but it was only second fastest. However, I’m very much looking forward to the race and especially to the night stints.”
Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): “I started qualifying and it was a bit unfortunate that I was held up by our number 18 car when Neel had some problems, but I kept pushing and another one-two in qualifying is just great for the team.“
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 18
Neel Jani (31, Switzerland): “At my first attempt I had problems with the red flag and then I had no boost. But still I had to drive my lap as quickly as possible. We were able to fix that problem for Marc. In the end I went out again because the Audi got too close, but I didn’t personally expect that pole position was still possible on a used set of tyres.”
Marc Lieb (35, Germany): “Of course I’m very happy about our pole position. Neel did a great job in the end. My earlier lap was okay too. In the last sector I lost a little bit of time, but overall I’m really satisfied.”
The six-hour race in Austin is the fifth of eight rounds of the 2015 WEC, and will start on Saturday at 17:00 hrs local time (00:00 hrs CEST). The TV channel Eurosport will broadcast the entire race and the podium ceremony live. Live feed, timing and more is available at the FIA WEC App. Live features such as on-board cameras, timing and GPS tracking are also available in the Porsche Motorsport App (free of charge).