The two Porsche 911 GT3 R take up the last race of the FIA GT World Cup in Macau from favourable starting positions: In the qualifying on the legendary 6.115-kilometre street circuit, Earl Bamber (New Zealand) planted the 500 hp customer sports racer from Weissach on the third grid spot. His works driver colleague Kévin Estre (France) posted the sixth quickest time. This gives them the best chances to secure a good starting position at Saturday’s qualifying race for the world’s most spectacular city race, which will be contested on Sunday.
In the former Portuguese colony, which was handed back to China in 1999, and has become one of the richest regions in the world thanks to tourism and gambling, seven automobile manufacturers fight for the prestigious victory. The qualifying on the unique racetrack featuring long straights and a combination of very fast and very tight corners turned into a gripping battle. With walls and guard rails left and right, the slightest mistake can mean retirement.
The 911 GT3 R was designed in Weissach for worldwide GT3 series on the basis of the 911 GT3 RS production sports car. Its maiden race outing featuring the new, ultra-modern four-litre flat-six engine with direct fuel injection was in January 2016 at the Daytona 24-hour race.
Qualifying quotesAlex Stehlig, Programme Manager Macau: “We’re very satisfied with the qualifying. This is the first time we’ve contested Macau as a team. We’ve settled in well and we were quick right from the beginning. Earl’s third place is a good starting position for the qualifying race, and even with P6 anything is possible for Kévin.”Earl Bamber (911 GT3 R #911): “During this qualifying I had a good and tough fight with Audi and Mercedes. It’s a lot of fun to drive the 911 GT3 R here and to show the world what great potential this car has. I’m satisfied with third place for starters. It gives us every chance for the qualifying race.” Kévin Estre (911 GT3 R #912): “As expected, the qualifying was tough. I didn’t go so well on the first set of tyres, but with the second and third set it went much better. I managed to improve my lap time, although in the end I wasn’t completely happy. On this circuit with its 23 corners it’s really hard to get a flawless lap in. Now I hope that I can improve a little more in the quail race.”
Qualifying result1. Edoardo Mortara (I), Audi R8, 2:16.9 minutes2. Laurens Vanthoor (B), Audi R8, + 0.154 seconds3. Earl Bamber (NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.2714. Maro Engel (D), Mercedes GT3, + 0.2855. Nico Müller (CH), Audi R8, + 1.0016. Kévin Estre (F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.0837. Renger van der Zande (NL), Mercedes GT3, + 1.4608. Nicky Catsburg (NL), BMW M6, + 2.715
The 18-lap race on the Guia Circuit takes off on Sunday at 12:55 hrs local time (05:55 hrs CEST). The qualifying race over twelve laps will be held on Saturday at 12:10 hrs local time. Both events can be seen live on http://www.fia.com/macau-grand-prix-live-stream.