The Porsche team Absolute Racing will take up round four of the Intercontinental GT Challenge from eleventh on the grid. In the pole shootout on the Formula 1 circuit at Suzuka (Japan), works driver Dirk Werner (Germany) turned the fastest Porsche lap so far this weekend in a time of 2:01.306 minutes. The German shares the No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R with Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell (Australia) and Dennis Olsen (Norway). The trio won the season-opening round at Bathurst (Australia) and currently rank third in the drivers’ classification. The identical, 500+hp vehicle fielded by Earl Bamber Motorsport (EBM) with the starting number 911 qualified on 24th.
Werner was the only Porsche driver who was eligible to take part in the final qualifying session with the 20 fastest cars. Prior to this, his teammates Olsen and Campbell had joined forces with the German works driver to lay the foundation for the pole shootout with fast lap times in the three qualifying sessions. Bad luck plagued the winning team of the season-opener at Bathurst (Australia), Earl Bamber Motorsport. Factory driver Romain Dumas from France was stopped by a red flag while attempting his flying lap in the first qualifying session. Afterwards, the worn tyres of his Porsche 911 GT3 R prevented the Frenchman from attempting another fast lap. His compatriot Mathieu Jaminet and Porsche works driver Sven Müller (Germany) were unable to make any significant headway in the remaining sessions. The No. 911 car now faces a ten-hour pursuit from P24 on the grid.
In the Pro-Am category, the No. 60 vehicle of the customer team LM corsa, with Japanese drivers Juichi Wakisaka, Kei Nakanishi and Shigekazu Wakisaka, takes up the ten-hour race from the 27th overall spot as the best car of its class. The Porsche 911 GT 3 R (model 997) run by the AMAC Motorsport squad, which is entered in the silver class, achieved fourth in its category (34th overall). Sharing driving duties in the No. 51 vehicle are the Australians Andrew MacPherson, Ben Porter and Brad Shiels.
The “Suzuka 10 Hours” takes off on Sunday, 25 August, at 10:00am local time (3:00am CEST).
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “Only one car in the pole shootout, and the best vehicle on eleventh – this is not what we expected. We need to look at the data to see the reasons for this. I’m confident that both Porsche 911 GT3 R will be competitive in the race. Our strength is our consistent pace over long distances. So I see good chances for our cars to make up ground over the ten hours of the race and join the frontrunners.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #912): “It was a great experience to get the chance to contest the pole shootout on the legendary Suzuka racetrack. My lap was good, but I braked a little too late before the chicane. Perhaps we could have qualified one or two spots further up the grid. We only had one practice session in dry conditions before the qualifying and I didn’t get to turn a single lap. In view of this, I’m really pleased. The car was good to drive and, with this setup, we’re also well prepared for the race.”
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “It was a difficult day for us. Unfortunately, we missed out on a place among the top 20 cars in qualifying. And that meant we weren’t eligible to take part in the pole shootout. We have to analyse why our car didn’t run optimally. The team is doing everything possible to make significant improvements to the car in time for the race. We want to launch a major pursuit.”
Kei Nakinishi (Porsche 911 GT3 R #60): “I’m delighted about the pole position in the Pro-Am category. We’ve continued to make improvements to our Porsche 911 GT3 R from session to session. We’re well prepared for the race. We’ve found a great setup, the car is predictable and consistent, which are very important factors for us. I’d like to thank Porsche Motorsport for the great support. I’m very much looking forward to the ten-hour race.”
01. Farfus/Tomczyk/Yelloly (BR/D/GB), BMW M6 GT3
02. Vanthoor/van der Linde/Vervisch (B/ZA/B), Audi R8 LMS GT3
03. Krognes/Catsburg/Jensen (N/NL/DK), BMW M6 GT3
11. Campbell/Olsen/Werner (AUS/N/), Porsche 911 GT3 R
24. Dumas/Jaminet/Müller (F/F/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R
27. Wakisaka/Wakisaka/Nakanishi (J/J/J), Porsche 911 GT3 R
34. MacPherson/Porter/Shiels (AUS/AUS/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 R (997)