Rain dominated the 2018 6 Hours of Shanghai. With numerous safety car phases and red flags, the race featured numerous changes of position, and intense racing in foul weather and darkness. The eleven car GTE-Pro class proved intensely competitive on the 5.451 kilometer course. At the close of the six-hour event the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni crossed the finish line in second place, followed by the No. 91 car of Dane Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre.
The GTE-Am class also saw numerous successes for Porsche. Three 911 RSRs campaigned by Dempsey Proton Racing and Project 1 claimed the top three positions in their class. The Porsche-laden podium was capped by Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell, Christian Reed, and Porsche-Junior Julien Andlauer in the No. 77 Porsche 911.
In cloudy, temperate conditions, Porsche’s GTE-Pro drivers clamored for position at Shanghai International Circuit. Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen claimed the best qualifying position of the two 911 RSRs, and claimed fourth position with a 1:59.031 lap of the 5.451-kilometer circuit. In the No. 91 car Richard Leitz and Giannmaria Bruni achieved an eighth position result.
In GTE-Am Dempsey Proton Racing narrowing missed a pole position qualifying, just 0.067 seconds behind the leader. The second Dempsey Proton car, No. 88 piloted by Khaled Al Qubaisi, Riccardo Pera, and Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli qualified fourth, and the Project 1 car of Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti qualified in seventh. Gulf Racing rounded out the Porsche GTE-Am field, qualifying eighth.
Comments on 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. Our drivers with Nordschleife experience underlined their prowess. Finishing second and third earned important points towards the world championship, it also expanded 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 (Porsche 911 RSR #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 (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “It was a hard-fought second place. A wonderful result for the team. I’m really thrilled about that because they all worked really hard. We can be proud. The conditions were difficult. 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. Still, the No. 92 still managed to bring home P3.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #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. The team, the car, Kevin and I – we all gave our utmost and that put us on the podium.”
Jörg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 RSR #56): “The race was interesting. I didn’t do much driving but in the end it worked out just fine. In the penultimate lap I managed to get past Matteo Cairoli and we finished on second.”
Matt Campbell (Porsche 911 RSR #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 then climbed into the cockpit the situation eased up and the team did a super job strategically. The track conditions changed again for the worse during my stint and it was a very challenging driving experience.”
Thomas Preining (Porsche 911 RSR #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 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 even though it isn’t shown in the result, we’ve made good progress since Fuji and we had the pace.”
Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 RSR #88): “We finished on the podium in Shanghai and that’s great. Today, the car proved difficult to drive towards the end. I did my best but ultimately the others were simply faster. We have to take a good look at the reasons for this. But I’m happy for my teammates with their victory. They deserve first place at this race.”
1. Sorensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 109 laps
2. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 109 laps
3. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 109 laps
4. Lynn/Martin (GB/B), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 109 laps
5. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 109 laps
6. Tomczyk/Catsburg (D/NL), BMW M8 GTE, 109 laps
7. Priaulx/Tincknell (GB/GB), Ford GT, 109 laps
8. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 109 laps
9. Mücke/Pla (D/F), Ford GT, 109 laps
10. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C7.R, 109 laps
11. Blomqvist/Felix da Costa (GB/P), BMW M8 GTE, 108 laps
1. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 108 laps
2. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 108 laps
3. Al Qubaisi/Pera/Cairoli (UAE/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 108 laps
4. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 108 laps
5. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 108 laps
6. Ishikawa/Beretta/Cheever (J/MC/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 107 laps
7. Mok/Sawa/Griffin (MAL/J/IRL), Ferrari 488 GTE, 107 laps
8. Yoluc/Adam/Eastwood (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage GTE, 107 laps
9. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 107 laps