Both the factory Porsche 911 RSRs finished on the podium at the final round in 2018 of the WEC in Shanghai. Heavy rain ensured a turbulent race that led to multiple safety car phases, red flags and many changes in position on the track. But a second and third in Shanghai for Porsche were the rewards for the Stuttgart works team after putting in a strong effort.
After six hours and a strong team effort, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni crossed the finish line in second place. The #92 sister car driven by Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen came home in third place. A total of eleven vehicles run by six manufacturers battled for GTE Pro class victory on the 5.451 km Shanghai International Circuit. Following this result, Porsche has extended its lead in both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championship.
Persistent downpours and the onset of darkness required utmost concentration from drivers, as spectators were treated to a heart-stopping finale in both the GTE Pro and Am categories. In the #91 car, Richard Lietz fought his way from fourth to second place in the final 40 minutes. Likewise, Michael Christensen in the #92 Porsche, overtook a rival on the last lap to secure third place at the chequered flag.
Porsche also had reason to celebrate in the GTE Am class when three customer Porsche 911 RSRs gave Porsche a 1-2-3 podium whitewash. Finishing in first place in the GTE Am class was the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing of Matt Campbell, Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer.
Driving the #56 Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR, Jörg Bergmeister swept past the second Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the Dempsey Proton Racing squad in the penultimate lap and took the flag in second place. Sharing the cockpit of the #56 car with Bergmeister was Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti. Occupying third place was the #88 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche driven by Khaled Al Qubaisi, Riccardo Pera and Matteo Cairoli. The Gulf Racing trio of Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Thomas Preining finished in ninth place.
Comments after the race
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser (Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars): “After the first three hours of the race we were very uncertain whether it was still a race, but it turned into a brilliant event. Finishing second and third earned important points towards the world championship, it also extended our lead, and we’re heading home from Shanghai feeling very happy. We’re also extremely pleased to have extended our collaboration with the Manthey Racing team for the next two WEC seasons. In the GTE Am class Porsche locked out the entire podium. I’m thrilled for all three, a fantastic job – it doesn’t get any better than that!”
Gianmaria Bruni (#91): “We finished on the podium with both vehicles. That’s fantastic and I’m proud of the great team performance, particularly with the pits stops. We managed to do here what we missed out on at Fuji. For me, that’s the Porsche spirit! Richard drove brilliantly and things went well for me especially at the end, although the rain and falling darkness made conditions very difficult.”
Richard Lietz (#91): “It was a hard-fought second place and a wonderful result for the team. I’m really thrilled about that because they all worked really hard. The conditions were difficult but we opted for the right tyres at the right time. The start with all the spray was chaotic, but then it got better. I found the final 30 minutes, when dusk fell, especially tricky.”
Kévin Estre (#92): “What a huge race! The water on the track and the light conditions at the end made it super difficult. We made the most of it and didn’t make any mistakes.”
Michael Christensen (#92): “That was a crazy race for us. Over the six hours it went back and forth with the positions for us. Ultimately, everyone delivered an excellent performance, that’s the best way to describe it.”
Jörg Bergmeister (#56): “The race was interesting. I didn’t do much driving but in the end, it worked out just fine. On the penultimate lap, I managed to get past Matteo Cairoli and we finished in second place.”
Matt Campbell (#77): “I’m over the moon with our win. The race was anything but easy. Christian had a hard time, especially at the start. When Julien climbed into the cockpit the situation eased up and the team did a super job strategically.”
Thomas Preining (#86): “It certainly wasn’t an easy race. In the beginning, there was a lot of water on the track and the safety car was deployed several times. My teammate Michael (Wainwright) experienced aquaplaning and hit the guardrail. This caused quite some damage, which the team did a great job of repairing. My stint wasn’t flawless unfortunately, but we’ve made good progress since Fuji.”
Matteo Cairoli (#88): “We finished on the podium in Shanghai and that’s great. The car proved difficult to drive towards the end. I did my best but ultimately the others were simply faster, so we have to take a good look at the reasons for this.”
Race results in Shanghai for Porsche
|1||GTE Pro class||Aston Martin Vantage GTE||Sorensen/Thiim||109|
|2||GTE Pro class||91||Porsche 911 RSR||Lietz/Bruni||109|
|3||GTE Pro class||92||Porsche 911 RSR||Christensen/Estre||109|
|1||GTE Am class||77||Porsche 911 RSR||Ried/Andlauer/Campbell||108|
|2||GTE Am class||56||Porsche 911 RSR||Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti||108|
|3||GTE Am class||88||Porsche 911 RSR||Al Qubaisi/Pera/Cairoli||108|
|9||GTE Am class||86||Porsche 911 RSR||Wainwright/Barker/Preining||107|
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Motorsport