The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Frikadelli Racing will take up the nine-hour race in Kyalami (South Africa) from pole position. At the wheel of the No. 31 vehicle, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) turned the fastest lap in the decisive shootout on the wet 4.522-kilometre circuit in a time of 1:52.825 minutes. The identical 500+hp vehicles campaigned by GPX Racing (No. 20) and Dinamic Motorsport (No. 12) will tackle the final round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge from positions four and five.
Porsche’s works driver Tandy treated spectators to a spectacular hunt for the best grid spot. Facing wet conditions during the third qualifying session, the Briton slid into the barriers in turn seven. After the German squad made swift repairs, he managed to plant his vehicle in the top ten and thus in the pole shootout. In the final session, Tandy ultimately outshone all of his rivals. For the race, the 2015 Le Mans overall winner shares the car with Porsche Young Professionals Dennis Olsen (Norway) and Mathieu Jaminet (France).
Taking up the race from the fourth grid spot, GPX Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R flying the legendary Gulf colours has good chances for a top result. Richard Lietz qualified the car fielded by the winning team of the 2019 Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race on the second grid row. In the race, the Austrian shares driving duties with the world sports car champions Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France). On the wet circuit, Matt Campbell put Dinamic Motorsport’s 911 GT3 R, which is based on the high-performance Porsche 911 GT3 RS* road-legal sports car, on position five. The Porsche Young Professional from Australia is joined in the number 12 cockpit by the IMSA champions Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium).
The Porsche 911 GT3 R run by KÜS Team 75 Bernhard (No. 911) will tackle the final race of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge from twelfth on the grid. Romain Dumas (France) had lost a lot of time during the first qualifying lap in heavy traffic with 28 vehicles from five classes. His German works driver colleagues Sven Müller and Dirk Werner made up five positions with the 500+hp GT3 car, however this was not enough to gain them entry into the Pole Shootout.
Porsche development driver Lars Kern (Germany) contests the silver classification with his teammates Dylan Pereira (Luxembourg) and Saul Hack (South Africa) from the second grid spot. The trio in Lechner Racing’s No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R qualified on P18. The South African customer team Perfect Circle takes up the race from position 28.
The “Kyalami 8 Hour” takes off on Saturday, 23 November, at 1pm (midday CET). Porsche has theoretical chances to win the manufacturers’ title at the final race of the season. The Bathurst winners Campbell, Werner and Olsen are within striking distance of taking home the drivers’ championship.
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager 911 GT3 R): “That was Nick Tandy as we’ve known and appreciated him for many years. In the third qualifying round, he pushes beyond the limits of grip and lands in the barriers. But then he not only qualifies the car for the pole shootout, but promptly plants it on pole. We have three Porsche 911 GT3 R in the top five. That gives us the very best chances for a top result in the race on Saturday.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “That was not my success alone; it was a fantastic team effort. The mechanics repaired the car quickly after my little excursion off the track and gave the car a perfect setup. Previously, my teammates and I had managed to qualify our Porsche 911 GT3 R in the shootout. All this helped to put us on the front spot. To be honest, the pole position was the best way for me to make amends after my little crash.”
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3 R #20): “Congratulations to Nick for his great lap. We tried out a few things on the car during the qualifying and learned a lot that will help us on Saturday. The grip in the shootout was anything but good. With that in mind, I’m pleased that we have a second row position with fourth place. This puts us in a good position to take up the nine-hour race.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 GT3 R #12): “We weren’t exactly in the right window with the tyre pressure, so we couldn’t do better than fifth place. Despite the lack of grip, I had a lot of fun out there on the wet track. It was good to test the limits under these conditions. We’re expecting more rain for the race, so it’s valuable to have already gained some relevant experience. I expect good chances from P5.”
Romain Dumas (Porsche 911 GT3 R #911): “The qualifying was anything but easy for me. I only got a free run in my first flying lap, after that it was impossible. I was stuck in the middle of a large group of vehicles, I had considerable understeer and therefore I couldn’t do anything more. My teammates managed to do a little better, but it wasn’t enough for a top ten result – what a shame.”
Lars Kern (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “This is the first time our team tackles a long-distance race with the Porsche 911 GT3. In the qualifying, it was a matter of getting a clean run and learning as much as possible. We succeeded. We got faster and faster as the event progressed. I’m looking forward to an exciting race.”
01. Olsen/Jaminet/Tandy (N/F/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R
02. Winkelhock/Haase/Mies (D/D/D), Audi R8 LMS GT3
03. Marciello/Buhk/Engel (I/D/D), Mercedes-AMG GT3
04. Lietz/Christensen/Estre (A/DK/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R
05. Vanthoor/Bamber/Campbell (B/NZ/AUS), Porsche 911 GT3 R
12. Dumas/Müller/Werner (F/D/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R
18. Hack/Kern/Pereira (ZA/D/LUX), Porsche 911 GT3 R
28. Bezuidenhout/Scribante/Scribante (ZA/ZA/ZA), Porsche 911 GT3 R (997)