Porsche GT Team has taken victory at the fourth race of the FIA WEC World Sports Car Championship Super Season, the 6 Hours of Fuji, last weekend while Australian Matt Campbell has retained the GTE-Am class points lead despite a difficult race in Japan.
At Fuji Speedway, Kevin Estre (F) and Michael Christensen (DK) crossed the finish line in first place in the GTE-Pro category with the ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR. The sister car driven by Richard Lietz (A) and Gianmaria Bruni (I) concluded the race in fifth place. With this, Porsche has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications. Porsche also won the GTE-Am category on Sunday: The newcomer team Project 1 with Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister from Germany, Patrick Lindsey (USA) and Egidio Perfetti (N) secured its maiden victory in the WEC.
Ten vehicles from five manufacturers made a bid for victory in the GTE-Pro class under changing weather conditions. After drizzle fell in the first hour of the race, the track slowly dried during a 30-minute safety car phase. After an early switch to slicks, Estre and Christensen concentrated on working their way through the field. With an optimal setup and a clever pit stop strategy, the French-Danish duo systematically reeled in the frontrunners. With about 1.5 hours to go, Christensen swept into the lead. At the final pit stop with a driver change, the Porsche GT Team again timed things perfectly and Estre went on to take the flag in first place. Scoring fifth place on the 4.563-kilometre racetrack, the sister car earned vital points, however Bruni and Lietz struggled with a less than perfect pit stop and deteriorating tyres towards the end.
In the GTE-Am class, Project 1 celebrated its first WEC win and Dempsey Proton Racing its second place. Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (I), the Japanese driver Satoshi Hoshino and Giorgio Roda from Italy were delighted to climb the podium for the first time this year. Porsche Junior Thomas Preining (A) also enjoyed a successful debut. Joining forces with Michael Wainwright (GB) and Ben Barker (GB) for Gulf Racing, he concluded the race on fifth place.
A pit stop for repairs threw Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (AUS), Christian Ried (Germany) and Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer down the field. Finishing on eighth, the second 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey Proton Racing earned more critical points towards the championship and continues to lead the GTE-Am classification. Campbell, Andlauer and Ried now hold a 14-point lead in the GTE-Am class standings over Project 1 trio Bergmeister, Lindsey and Perfetti.
Round five of the FIA WEC World Sports Car Championship takes place in Shanghai/China on 16 November.
Comments on the race
Alexander Stehlig (Program Manager Factory GT Motorsports): “After the disappointment with the qualifying results, today was a great day. It was a hugely successful weekend for Porsche with the victory at Petit Le Mans in the USA and the two successes here at Fuji in the Pro and Am categories. We almost always made the right decisions during the race and the car was good and fast. The number 92 car drove a flawless race, our number 91 unfortunately had problems during the pit stop. On top of that, the balance wasn’t great in the last stint. But all in all, we’re very satisfied.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “I’m a bit frustrated. In the middle of the race we were looking promising, we were fast and within striking distance of the leaders. Unfortunately an electrical problem cost us 25 laps. Ultimately we should be satisfied that we earned some points for the championship classification. However the speed of the 911 RSR was great and we’re feeling optimistic about the next race in Shanghai.”
1. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 207 laps
2. Blomquist/da Costa (S/P), BMW M8 GTE, 207 laps
3. Priaulx/Tincknell (GB/GB), Ford GT, 207 laps
4. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 207 laps
5. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 207 laps
6. Mücke/Pla (D/F), Ford GT, 206 laps
7. Sorensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 206 laps
8. Tomczyk/Catsburg (D/NL), BMW M8 GTE, 206 laps
9. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 206 laps
10. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 202 laps
1. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 201 laps
2. Hoshino/Roda/Cairoli (J/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 201 laps
3. Yoluc/Adam/Eastwood (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 201 laps
4. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 201 laps
5. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 201 laps
6. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 200 laps
7. Mok/Sawa/Griffin (MAL/J/IRL), Ferrari 488 GTE, 200 laps
8. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 176 laps
9. Ishikawa/Beretta/Cheever (J/MC/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 14 laps