Porsche Wraps up Season in style with a Podium at Sepang
Porsche Motorsport’s 2016 season has ended on a high at the 12-hour race at the Sepang International Circuit with works drivers Earl Bamber, Patricke Pilet and Nick Tandy taking second place. Their teammates, Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Frédéric Makowiecki took fifth place in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
The two teams took to the race driving the Porsche 911 GT3 R run by the Manthey Racing outfit – a car that also has form in the FIA GT World Cup, IMSA Sportscar Championship and other demanding endurance series’. And the meeting started very well for the Manthey cars with the 912-numbered car of Lietz, Christensen and Makowiecki lining up on pole in warm, humid conditions. The 911-numbered GT3 R of Bamber, Pilet and Tandy wasn’t far behind in third.
Off the line in the 912 car was usurped in the lead by a charging Bamber, who can consider the 5.5km Sepang to be his ‘home’ track. A fierce battle ensued between the two Porsches and the best Ferrari of the field before torrential rain mixed things up as teams dived into the pits for wet weather tyres. After this initial five hours, the number 911 car was sitting second and 912 car in fourth.
Two unscheduled pit stops – one for each car to replace brakes – added further interest, with both cars dropping back but determined to regain positions. The #911 car driven by Bamber had lost its podium place, now lying in fourth, but after a safety car phase he launched his attach on the field, simultaneously dealing with poor track conditions. He managed to overtake a Ferrari running third and then the second place Audi to seal Porsche’s podium finish at the final race of the season. The #912 car maintained its fifth position after the unscheduled pit stop to finish the race strongly.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport said; “This was a race of highs and lows in very difficult weather conditions. Initially, we had a bit of a problem getting our wet tyres to really work. Once we got to grips with that the performance was there immediately. After the safety car phase, Earl put in a commanding drive to second place. That was really great. Although we were a little unlucky with the caution phases, all in all it was a good race.”
|1.||Vanthoor/Haase/Frijns||Audi R8||309 laps|
|2.||Pilet/Tandy/Bamber||Porsche 911 GT3 R||304 laps|
|3.||Kaffer/Rast/Winkelhock||Audi R8||304 laps|
|4.||Lathouras/Rugolo/Pierguidi||Ferrari 488||303 laps|
|5.||Lietz/Christensen/Makowiecki||Porsche 911 GT3 R||302 laps|