The Project 1 customer squad claims third podium spot
Works cars finish the fierce GTE-Pro class in positions four and five
The Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing has won the GTE-Am class at the six-hour race of the FIA WEC in Monza. In the No. 77 car, team owner Christian Ried and the two UK drivers Sebastian Priaulx and Harry Tincknell beat the opposition over the line. In the GTE-Pro class, the two works cars took the flag in positions four and five.
The German Porsche customer team Dempsey-Proton Racing has won the GTE-Am class at the six-hour race in Monza. Christian Ried and the two UK drivers Sebastian Priaulx and Harry Tincknell crossed the finish line first in the No. 77 car. Project 1’s No. 46 entry wrapped up round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship third in the amateur class. In the GTE-Pro category, the two factory-run 911s finished in fourth and fifth against tough competition in the Monza Temple of Speed. With this result, Porsche has defended its lead in the manufacturers’ championship.
In bright sunshine and temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius, a heated battle unfolded immediately after the start on the high-speed Formula 1 circuit. Again and again, the yellow flags came out after incidents, which bunched the field together. About two and a half hours into the race, the safety car was deployed and again the gap in the field was neutralised. At that point, opting for the best strategy for the remaining race time proved critical. The customer squads Dempsey-Proton Racing and Project 1 managed this perfectly, and the final stint drivers Harry Tincknell (No. 77) and Matteo Cairoli (No. 46) put in a spirited performance in a fiercely contested final sprint. At the flag, the winning Porsche car was almost 20 seconds faster than its closest pursuers. “That’s the second win within a week for Dempsey-Proton Racing in Monza – last weekend in the ELMS race here, and now in the FIA WEC. That cheers us up a bit after a difficult day,” says Alexander Stehlig, Director Factory Motorsport FIA WEC.
Things did not run quite as smoothly on Sunday for the Porsche factory squad in the GTE-Am class. The two ca. 378 kW (515 PS) 911 RSR were unable to match the pace of their rivals and despite a daring strategy and total commitment, the drivers had no chance of a podium result. “Our cars had a great setup, the drivers did their utmost and the tyre choice was ideal,” explains Stehlig and adds: “But that was the end of the good news, the rest was a big disappointment. Before the race weekend, the cars were reclassified. We didn’t agree with this change to the Balance of Performance right from the outset – and rightly so, as we clearly saw in the qualifying and race. Because of this rating, we barely had a chance. Under these conditions, we weren’t able to achieve more than fourth and fifth place.”
Ultimately, the No. 92 car driven by Kévin Estre (France) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) crossed the finish line ahead of the sister car. In Monza, the No. 91 cockpit was shared by local hero Gianmaria Bruni from Italy with Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki, who stood in for regular driver Richard Lietz (Austria) due to illness.
In the GTE-Am class, the No. 88 crew from Dempsey-Proton Racing scored many championship points. The two American drivers Fred Poordad and Patrick Lindsey as well as Jan Heylen from Belgium concluded the race in sixth place. Both Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Project 1 (No. 56) and GR Racing (No. 86) were thrown out of contention for a class podium due to incidents early in the race and finished tenth and twelfth.
In the overall rankings, Porsche as the Le Mans class winner defended its lead in the manufacturers’ classification. Works driver Gianmaria Bruni now occupies second place in the drivers’ world championship standings. His brand colleagues Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen rank third. Round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC will be held on 11 September at the Fuji Speedway in Japan.
Drivers’ impressions of the race
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “At first we found it difficult, but then our pace improved a little. But we were still miles away from the lap times of our rivals. Still, we’ve at least scored a few points for the championship today. Thank you to Fred, who gave me great support today. At the next race, I’ll be back in full force with Richard.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “We simply didn’t have the pace to keep up with the frontrunners. And the strategy with our car wasn’t ideal either. We did the exact opposite of everyone else. The chance of being the only one to get it right isn’t very high – but we had to try something.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “I fought as hard as I could. We simply didn’t have the speed it took today. But we pulled out all stops and were able to keep within striking distance for long stretches. Pulling out all stops, we managed to stay within striking distance over long stretches. I don’t agree with the pit-lane drive-through penalty towards the end of the race – that was tough but respectful racing. It wasn’t enough for a podium result today.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “We did everything right but the conditions weren’t there for us today so we had no chance of a podium result. It’s a very disappointing day for us.”
Christian Ried (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “Our Porsche drove beautifully and our strategy was spot on. We’re over the moon about this class win. We decided at the end to go for broke: go flat out and make a splash-and-dash pit stop. That worked perfectly because Harry set a blistering pace. It’s a wonderful day for us.”
Nicolas Leutwiler (Porsche 911 RSR #46): “Third place is a great and, above all, hard-earned result. We made bold strategic decisions that even put us at the top for a while. Unfortunately, this advantage disappeared during the safety car phase – a real shame. In the end, we had to drive without telemetry – so we scored third place flying almost blind – that’s not bad.”
1. Milner/Tandy (USA/UK), Corvette C8.R #64, 181 laps
2. Molina/Fuoco (E/I), Ferrari 488 GTE #52, 181 laps
3. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/UK), Ferrari 488 GTE #51, 181 laps
4. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR #92, 181 laps
5. Bruni/Makowiecki (I/F), Porsche 911 RSR #91, 180 laps
1. Ried/Priaulx/Tincknell (D/UK/UK), Porsche 911 RSR #77, 179 laps
2. Frey/Gatting/Bovy (CH/DK/B), Ferrari 488 GTE #85, 178 laps
3. Cairoli/Pedersen/Leutwiler (I/DK/CH), Porsche 911 RSR #46, 178 laps
6. Poordad/Lindsey/Heylen (USA/USA/B), Porsche 911 RSR #88, 177 laps
10. Iribe/Millroy/Barnicoat (USA/UK/UK), Porsche 911 RSR #56, 176 laps
12. Wainwright/Barker/Pera (UK/UK/I), Porsche 911 RSR #86, 163 laps
Image: Porsche 911 RSR, Dempsey-Proton Racing (#77), Christian Ried (D), Harry Tincknell (UK), Sebastian Priaulx (UK)