The Porsche GT Team has continued its impressive streak of pole positions in the FIA World Endurance Championship, WEC. In the pursuit of top times at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, works driver Gianmaria Bruni put the Porsche 911 RSR with number 91 in first place.
With a lap time of 2:14.481 minutes, the Italian, who shares the car with Austrian Richard Lietz, was the fastest GT driver on the 7.04-kilometer race track. Sister car No. 92, driven by Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark), the winners of the season opener in Sebring, will start the race from position two. Over the past two years, Weissach’s 378 kW (515 hp) 911 has proven to be unbeatable in GTE-Pro class qualifying.
“Positions one and two – you can’t do better than that,” smiles Alexander Stehlig, director of Factory Motorsport FIA WEC. “I am very happy that the guys in the number 91 car have managed to take pole position. It was an exciting qualifying, with lap times being repeatedly canceled as cars overstepped the track limits. Our No. 91 entry was caught on the second attempt, so Gianmaria put in another flying lap. That was it. Both cars on the front row: tomorrow’s race is sure to be exciting!”
With sunny conditions and spring temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius, the conditions were perfect in the Belgian Ardennes. At the start of the 10-minute qualifying session, both 911 RSRs were waiting in the pits. The aim was to await a free run without being hindered by traffic. This tactic worked for Michael Christensen in the number 92 car. The Dane immediately put his Porsche at the top of the timesheets. His brand teammate Bruni had initially crossed the white demarcation lines of the track. When his fastest lap was cancelled, the Italian had to pull out all the stops. In the very last second, Bruni drove the sister car from first place.
In the GTE-Am category, the gentleman driver Brendan Iribe put in a lot of effort. The successful American businessman, who drove the 911 RSR on the so-called “Ardennes roller coaster” for the first time, set the third fastest time in his class in the No. 56 Project 1 car. The customer team’s sister car from Lower Saxony, Germany, starts the race from fifth place on the grid. The two 911 race cars entered by Dempsey-Proton Racing took positions six and nine, with the identical GR Racing model starting from P12.
The second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC kicks off on Sunday, May 7 at 1 p.m. The six-hour race is considered a rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The highlight of the season will be on June 11/12 on the legendary 13.6-kilometer road course in western France.
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “The balance of the car was great. I got a clear run and everything came together. I love the track in Spa and I’ve always had a lot of fun here, especially when everything runs so smoothly. We earned an important point today, but tomorrow the game will start from scratch. Anything can happen in the race. Rain is forecast. Raining hard or not, the race in six hours is sure to be exciting.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “That was an eventful session! On the way back to the pits I was still at the top of the timesheets. I was a bit hampered by the traffic, but my lap time was good, but not good enough. Grip on the track improved as time went on. Both 911 RSR start from the front row. It doesn’t get much better than that before the start of the race.”
1. Bruni/Lietz (I/A), Porsche 911 RSR #91, 2:14.301 minutes
2. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR #92, 2:14.481 minutes
3. Tandy/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C8.R #64, 2:14.606 minutes
4. Calado/Pier Guidi (GB/I), Ferrari 488 GTE #51, 2:15.102 minutes
5. Fuoco/Molina (I/E), Ferrari 488 GTE #52, 2:15.443 minutes
1. Keating/Chaves/Sörensen (USA/P/DK), Aston Martin #33, 2:17.408 minutes
2. Dalla Lana/Pittard/Thiim (USA/GB/DK), Aston Martin #98, 2:18.912 minutes
3. Iribe/Barnicoat/Millroy (USA/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR #56, 2:19.700 minutes
5. Leutwiler/Cairoli/Pedersen (CH/I/DK), Porsche 911 RSR #46, 2:20.937 minutes
6. Ried/Priaulx/Tincknell (D/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR #77, 2:21.027 minutes
9. Poordad/Heylen/Lindsey (USA/B/USA), Porsche 911 RSR #88, 2:22.622 minutes
12. Wainwright/Barker/Pera (GB/GB/I), Porsche 911 RSR #86, 2:24.384 minutes