Porsche's 2nd weekend in the WEC started with great promise as the #14 919 Hybrid piloted by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb started from the pole position after setting the fastest lap time in qualifying. While leading for most of the race, electric problems and a tire puncture on the final lap made them miss the podium and end the race in 4th place. In the GTE-Pro class Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet were able to repeat their results from Silverstone and finish on the podium in 2nd place. The 2nd factory 911 RSR driven by Marco Holzer and Frédéric Makowiecki saw the checkered flag in 6th place. Porsche's full race report follows the video and galleries below.
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Porsche 919 Hybrid Pictures From Spa
Porsche GTE-Pro Pictures From Spa
Porsche LMP1 Class Race Report From Spa
Following the podium finish at the season’s opener in Silverstone, the new Porsche 919 Hybrid came fourth at the second round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Drivers Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) had started with the car no. 14 from pole position for the six hour race and was the leading car for a long time. But then incidents cost time. An electric problem required a reset by Dumas while he was driving and on the final laps Jani had an extra pit stop due to a puncture.
Porsche factory driver Neel Jani said, “I knew it would be important for me to defend P1 in the first corner after the start, I was really committed through La Source and then I had to take a bit of a risk in Eau Rouge as well. I gave everything in the first stint and that was how I managed to get a good lead. The second set of tyres somehow was less comfortable but I could stay in the lead. I think in Silverstone we were okay in qualifying but nowhere in the race. Here we were very good in qualifying and could lead the race for a long time. Looks like good progress.“
The race day for the sister car no. 20 of Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) was even less lucky. They had started fifth, improved immediately to third but then were hampered by technical problems and dropped back to the end of the field.
Nevertheless, the newly formed Porsche Team managed to achieve the main target for the weekend which was finishing the race with both LMP1 cars. The speed of the Porsche 919 Hybrid was convincing in Spa. For long periods of the race it was the fastest car on track. The overall fastest lap of the weekend was by Marc Lieb (1:59.887 minutes, free practice two). Neel Jani’s fastest qualifying lap (2:00.334 minutes) was the overall second fastest lap of the weekend.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1 said this about the race, “It was our main target to finish the race with both Porsche 919 Hybrids and this is what we have managed. But after we had achieved pole position and saw very good lap times in the race we certainly hoped for a better result. But due to the technical problems, especially on car no. 20, it wasn’t possible today.”
Porsche GTE Class Race Report
After a successful start to the season with a double victory at Silverstone, Porsche scored second place in the GTE-Pro class at the six-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps, round two of the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC). With the Porsche 911 RSR, which is based on the iconic 911 sports car, works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) repeated their result from the season-opener after a remarkable charge in the final phase of the race. Their factory pilot colleagues and Silverstone winners Marco Holzer (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) brought the second 911 RSR fielded by Porsche Team Manthey over the finish line in sixth place.
Joerg Bergmeister said this about the race, “Our car became increasingly better over the course of the race. The track conditions improved significantly thanks to the rubber on the track and this very much suited us. I tried everything to get past the Ferrari but it was extremely difficult. Particularly in the fast passages we lost a lot of downforce on the front axle and you can’t overtake unless the driver in front makes a mistake. But this was not the case. Luckily Patrick finally managed it.”
At the race on the storied circuit in the Belgian Ardennes, generally regarded as the dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 911 RSR sports cars competed with 25 kilograms of additional weight. During the preceding week, the WEC Endurance Committee had decided to increase in vehicle weight as part of the Balance of Performance regulations. The 470 hp GT racer from Weissach, which has already won the long distance classics at Daytona and Sebring this season, was unable to match the pace of the front-runners during the first half of the race. But in an impressive final stint, Patrick Pilet swept past two opponents, scoring second place with Joerg Bergmeister, just like at the season-opener at Silverstone. This result allows them to retain second place in the GT driver’s classification heading to the season highlight at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Round three of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC is the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans on 14/15 June.
Race Results, LMP1, 6 hrs of Spa
1. Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi (GB/F/CH), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 171 laps
2. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (BRA/F/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, - 1:13.926 min
3. Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima (A/F/J), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, - 1:20.861 min
4. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 1 lap behind
5. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/D/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1 lap behind
6. Bonanomi/Albuquerque (I/POR), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 2 laps behind
7. Prost/Heidfeld/Beche (F/D/CH), Rebellion R-One-Toyota, 10 laps behind
23. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 23 laps behind
1. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, 152 laps
2. Bergmeister/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 151
3. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 151
4. Turner/Mücke/Senna (GB/D/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 150
5. MacDowall/O’Young/Rees (GB/HK/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 150
6. Holzer/Makowiecki (D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 148
1. Perez Companc/Cioci/Venturi (ARG/I/I), Ferrari F 458 Italia, 149 laps
2. Poulsen/Hansson/Stanaway (DK/DK/NZ), Aston Martin Vantage, 149
3. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard (CDN/P/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 149
4. Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi (D/A/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, 146
5. Mann/Giammaria/Case (USA/I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 145
6. Potolicchio/Roda/Ruberti (YV/I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 142
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The Driver’s Role In The 24 Hours of Le Mans
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