The best Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class tackles the six-hour race in Monza (Italy) from position four. At the wheel of the No. 91 car, local hero Gianmaria Bruni was 0.220-seconds faster than his brand colleague Michael Christensen (Denmark). In the GTE-Am category, Christian Ried planted the No. 77 car fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing on the third grid spot.
The two 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche works team will take up the six-hour race in Monza (Italy) from positions four and five. During the qualifying session for round four of the FIA World Championship WEC, the two drivers Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Michael Christensen from Denmark made the most of what was possible but were unable to assert themselves in the hunt for top times against the tough competition in the GTE-Pro class. Qualifying third in the GTE-Am category, Germany’s Christian Ried set a promising grid spot for Sunday’s race with Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 entry.
The ten-minute qualifying session in temperatures of 30-degrees Celsius and asphalt temperatures of around 50 degrees was marked by heavy traffic and numerous infringements of the track limits. With all competitors using the full driving time, the situation out on the five-kilometre Formula 1 racetrack was tight. Bruni and Christensen squeezed every last ounce out of their two ca. 378 kW (515 PS) nine-elevens from Weissach but ultimately had to make do with fourth and fifth on the grid.
“It’s disappointing for us,” concluded Alexander Stehlig, Director Factory Motorsport FIA WEC. “Both of our cars were within a tenth of a second. That shows that our drivers obviously made the most of what was possible. The balance of our cars was good but we didn’t stand a chance against the competition over one fast lap. I’m afraid we have a very difficult race ahead of us tomorrow.”
In the GTE-Am class, in which professionals share a car with amateurs, Germany’s Christian Ried put in an impressive performance. The experienced owner of the Dempsey-Proton Racing team set a formidable time at the wheel of the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR, which left several rivals struggling to match his pace. Consequently, Ried and his UK teammates Harry Tincknell and Sebastian Priaulx will take up the race from position three. The No. 88 sister car qualified on P12. The two cars fielded by Project 1 achieved positions seven and ten, with the UK team GR Racing tackling round four of the season from position eight.
The six-hour race at Monza takes off on Sunday, 10 July, at midday.
Qualifying quotes from the drivers
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “I did everything I could, but more just wasn’t possible. We found a good setup for the track during free practice but we’re still not close enough. Perhaps we could find another tenth of a second but definitely not five or six tenths – the gap is just too big. Hopefully, if we maintain a steady pace, we can still achieve a decent result in the race. We never give up.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “That was a difficult qualifying. We saw this already in the free practice and unfortunately it became reality in the qualifying. Our car is set up well and we feel really good at the wheel of our nine-eleven. We can only hope that this gap is so large on a flying lap and not over the distance. There’s hope that things might look a little better in the race.”
Christian Ried (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “Our car ran superbly. For me personally, it was a really good lap. So I’m totally satisfied with it. But what makes me stop and think is that the gap to the two top-placed drivers is so big. I have no idea why they were suddenly so much faster in qualifying.”
1. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/UK), Ferrari 488 GTE #51, 1:45.270 minutes
2. Milner/Tandy (USA/UK), Corvette C8.R #64, 1:45.324 minutes
3. Molina/Fuoco (E/I), Ferrari 488 GTE #52, 1:45.328 minutes
4. Bruni/Makowiecki (I/F), Porsche 911 RSR #91, 1:45.804 minutes
5. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR #92, 1:46.024 minutes
1. Frey/Gatting/Bovy (CH/DK/B), Ferrari 488 GTE #85, 1:47.431 minutes
2. Keating/Chaves/Sörensen (USA/P/DK), Aston Martin #33, 1:47.658 minutes
3. Ried/Priaulx/Tincknell (D/UK/UK), Porsche 911 RSR #77, 1:48.206 minutes
7. Iribe/Millroy/Barnicoat (USA/UK/UK), Porsche 911 RSR #56, 1:48.813 minutes
8. Wainwright/Barker/Pera (UK/UK/I), Porsche 911 RSR #86, 148.842 minutes
10. Cairoli/Pedersen/Leutwiler (I/DK/CH), Porsche 911 RSR #46, 1:48.966 minutes
12. Poordad/Lindsey/Heylen (USA/USA/B), Porsche 911 RSR #88, 1:50.221 minutes