The No. 6 Porsche 963 fielded by the Porsche Penske Motorsport works team takes on the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from position four on the grid. Frenchman Mathieu Jaminet turned a lap time of 1:46,426 minutes in qualifying for the 12 Hours of Sebring. His teammate Matt Campbell, however, had bad luck: In his No. 7 car, the Australian slid into the tyre wall in Turn 1, bringing his hunt for top times in Florida to an abrupt halt. Klaus Bachler experienced the same fate in the No. 7 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Pfaff Motorsports in the qualifying sessions of both GTD classes.
Mathieu Jaminet’s lap time in qualifying for the new top GTP class was significantly faster than all other laps achieved by the Porsche 963 in the practice sessions. With temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Celsius and bright sunshine, Campbell was determined to tap the full potential of the new hybrid prototype. However, early in the sixth lap, the rear of the Australian’s car hit the barriers on the inside of Turn 1. At the exit of the fast left-hander, his Porsche 963 slid off the track and into the tyre wall. Since Campbell was responsible for the red-flagging of the qualifying, his two fastest lap times were voided. The No. 7 car will tackle the race from seventh on the GTP grid.
“Matt’s fine and that’s by far the main thing,” says Urs Kuratle. The Director of Factory Motorsport LMDh adds: “Now we need to see how badly damaged the rear of the car is. We’ll only be able to assess this when the vehicle is brought back to the garage. It’s a shame. The drivers are fighting hard with our car here, as we’ve clearly seen in this case. The gap to our rivals was about the same as in yesterday’s FIA WEC qualifying, although the track was a bit faster this morning. I hope we can join the frontrunners in the race.”
Best Porsche 911 GT3 R tackles the GTD class from position five
The qualifying sessions for both GTD classes had to be red-flagged after Klaus Bachler’s accident. The Austrian also lost control of Pfaff Motorsports’ No. 9 car in Turn 1 and crashed into the tyre barrier. Bachler was unhurt in the accident. His Canadian team starts the race from P7 in the GTD-Pro class. In the GTD category, Jan Heylen was the fastest Porsche driver. The Belgian planted the No. 16 entry from Wright Motorsports on grid position four. The other customer cars fielded by Kelly-Moss with Riley, AO Racing and Wright Motorsports head into the second round of the season from further down the field.
The “Super Sebring” weekend continues on Friday, 17 March, with the 1,000-mile race of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC. At the season opener, Porsche Penske Motorsport campaigns two Porsche 963, with six 911 RSR fielded by five customer teams. The race kicks off at noon local time (5 pm CET). The 12-hour race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship begins on Saturday, 18 March, at 10:10 am local time (3:10 pm CET).
Qualifying quotes from the drivers
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “Fourth place was the best we could do today. I made a minor error on my flying lap, although it didn’t make much difference. The car did better in qualifying than in the free practices, and our team did a great job there. We’re not yet where we want to be because we’re still a bit behind but we’re making progress. This was evident in the qualifying session. It’s great to see our IMSA and FIA WEC teams working closely together and sharing so much information. It’s a shame about Matt’s accident.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 963 #7): “That was far from ideal. I made a small mistake in Turn 1 which unfortunately had a big impact. I’m really sorry for the team. The car doesn’t seem to be too badly damaged. Our guys will fix it before the start of the race – then we’ll attack.”
Klaus Bachler (Porsche 911 GT3 R #9): “I went a little wide in the first corner. The rear of the car became unstable on a bump and I wasn’t able to save it. I hit the tyre wall, but not as hard as it looked at first. Unfortunately, our team now has to repair the damages. Luckily we have some time before the start of the race. Tomorrow we want to launch our charge through the field.”
Jan Heylen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #16): “The red flags certainly didn’t play into our hands but that also prevented others from improving their times. On this track, it takes quite a long time to get the tyres into the ideal temperature window. One or two more laps would’ve been much better. Still, we have to live with it, especially since I probably wouldn’t have achieved the time of the fastest qualifiers anyway. Things are going much better than in Daytona but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s see what we can do in the race.”
1. Derani/Sims/Aitken (BR/UK/UK), Cadillac #31, 1:45.836 minutes
2. Bourdais/van der Zande/Dixon (F/NL/NZ), Cadillac #01, 1:45.923 minutes
3. Taylor/Albuquerque/Deletraz (USA/P/CH), Acura #10, 1:46.100 minutes
4. Tandy/Jaminet/Cameron (UK/F/USA), Porsche 963 #6, 1:46.426 minutes
7. Campbell/Nasr/Christensen (AUS/BR/DK), Porsche 963 #7, 1:46.851 minutes
1. Garcia/Taylor/Milner (E/USA/USA), Corvette #3, 1:59.315 minutes
2. Hawksworth/Barnicoat/Kirkwood (UK/UK/USA), Lexus #14, 1:59.582 minutes
3. Juncadella/Gounon/Engel (E/F/D), Mercedes-AMG #79, 1:59.635 minutes
7. Bachler/Pilet/Vanthoor (A/F/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, no lap time
1. Marcelli/Formal/Harrison (CDN/CR/USA), Acura #93, 1:59.714 minutes
2. Ellis/Ward/Dontje (D/USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG #57, 1:59.834 minutes
3. Montecalvo/Telitz/Thompson (USA/USA/CDN), Lexus #12, 1:59.944 minutes
4. Hardwick/Heylen/Robichon (USA/B/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R #16, 2:00.022 minutes
14. Metni/van Berlo/Evans (USA/NL/NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R #91, 2:01.927 minutes
16. Brynjolfsson/Hindman/Root (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 2:02.612 minutes
17. Hyett/Jeannette/Priaulx (USA/USA/UK), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 2:02.678 minutes
19. Brule/Udell/Andlauer (USA/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 2:04.555 minutes
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