Following the 4-hour race at Shanghai on Sunday, Porsche was awarded first and second in the FIA WEC's GTE Pro category following a ride height infringement which cost the AF Corse team the class win. Porsche drivers Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen started the race from pole position in the #92 car with Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz closely behind in the sister #91 911 RSR. They rolled across the checkered flag second and third respectively, having used a full course yellow period to secure the perfect final pit stop for fuel. The team's strategy, the skill of the drivers, and a bit of good fortune, paid dividends throughout the race.
The caution came perfectly timed at 1:05 remaining in the race, and took out the Porsche team's main rival as it was a high speed tire explosion on the #95 Aston Martin which caused a caution to clean up the debris. Coming out of the pits on that final stop, both Porsches were briefly stuck behind one of the Aston Martin team's entries. Within half an hour of that stop, both Porsche cars had made their way past the Aston, Estre performing a particularly impressive late braking overtake.
A side-to-side contretemps between the #91 Porsche and one of the AF Corse Ferraris coming out of the pits netted the P-car a 10-second pit stop penalty for unsafe release. Watch below and decide for yourself.
— WEC (@FIAWEC) November 10, 2019
By finishing ahead of both Aston Martins and with the disqualification of the #51 Ferrari, Estre and Christensen were able to extend their lead in the drivers’ classification significantly.
The Porsche customer team Project 1 also secured a podium result in the GTE-Am class. The driver squad of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Larry ten Voorde brought the 2017-spec Porsche 911 RSR home after 113 laps in second position.
Comments on the race (quotes came before the disqualification of the #51 Ferrari was announced)
Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “We knew that we’d have a difficult race ahead of us. Unfortunately we lost a position with the number 92 car, which had started from pole position. Our second car started from sixth and finished in third. We weren’t the fastest out there at times, but we compensated for this through our teamwork. We’re thrilled to have extended our lead in the championship standings and with our perfect performance as a team this weekend.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “We had a good race with a great strategy. Tyre management was a challenge as we had to be very careful with the tyres without it costing too much time. In the final stint I was running in fourth place and managed to overtake another vehicle. Richard also did an outstanding job at the start. We’re really pleased with second and third place.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “It was a very good race for us, even though we weren’t the fastest on the track today. Still, everyone in the team did a good job, in fact, without the ten-second penalty we might have even won. Now I’m looking forward to Bahrain. After three second places in a row, I’d like to climb to the top step of the podium again.”
1. Christensen/Estre (DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 125 laps
2. Lietz/Bruni (A/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 125 laps
2. Keating/ten Voorde/Bleekemolen (USA/NL/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, 113 laps
5. Perfetti/Heinemeier Hansson/Cairoli (N/DK/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
6. Negro/Bamber/Preining (I/NZ/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
9. Wainwright/Watson/Barker (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
10. Ried/Pera/Campbell (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps
12. Prette/Prette/Abril (I/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 112 laps