The Porsche GT Team will start the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position in the GTE-Pro class thanks to Gianmaria Bruni’s 3:50.874 lap time in the No.91 911 RSR. In the No.92 sister car, Michael Christensen managed to qualify sixth. Meanwhile in the GTE-Am category, Matt Campbell was the fastest Porsche driver, securing the second grid spot in class, just 0.056 seconds off the top time.
Right from the get go in the new 30-minute shootout for starting positions, Bruni led the charge and set the fastest lap, but had his record struck, for leaving the track in the Porsche Curves area. The Italian, who had set a lap record for GTE vehicles in 2018, did not let the stewards’ decision deter him and in his second flying lap, immediately undercut his previous top time. Teammate Christensen, however, encountered traffic and was unable to improve on his time during his final attempt towards the end of the session.
In the GTE-Am class, the young factory driver Matt Campbell planted the Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s spec on second place with a time of 3:51.322 minutes. At the wheel of Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 car, the Australian was faster in the Hyperpole than half of the GTE-Pro field. Italy’s Matteo Cairoli claimed the third grid spot in the identical No. 56 car run by the Project 1 team. Benjamin Barker from Great Britain posted the sixth quickest time in the 510 hp 911 RSR fielded by Gulf Racing (No. 86).
Speaking after the results were announced, Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport, said: “That was a great qualifying. We’ve achieved pole position in the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class – with a car that has never competed on this track before. Congratulations to our customer teams. Second and third on the grid in the GTE-Am category is a tremendous result. Thanks to the team’s great work, we’re now perfectly prepared for the race. The weather forecast predicts rain. I’m sure that it’ll be an exciting and spectacular competition over 24 hours.”
Gianmaria Bruni commented: “After initial difficulties in the first practice, we completely changed the setup of our car – with success! Our 911 RSR is now significantly easier to drive. That became obvious in the qualifying and the Hyperpole. I didn’t make any mistakes in my flying lap and now I’m on pole with my teammates Richard and Fred. It’s a fantastic result for Porsche. Now we want to be just as successful in the race.”
Michael Christensen added: “One Porsche is on pole but unfortunately I was only able to qualify our car on sixth place. We need to take another good look at the data to see why we weren’t quite at the same level as the sister car. The starting position at a 24-hour race isn’t the main thing. The pace over the distance is more important. And that’s exactly where we’re looking good. We should be fast, especially during the long night. I’m now looking forward to the race and I’m curious to see whether the anticipated rain will actually arrive.”
1. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:50.874 minutes
2. Calado/Pier Guidi/Serra (GB/I/BR), Ferrari 488 GTE, 3:51.115 minutes
3. Sörensen/Thiim/Westbrook (DK/DK/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:51.241 minutes
4. Lynn/Martin/Tincknell (GB/B/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:51.324 minutes
5. Rigon/Molina/Bird (I/E/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, 3:51.515 minutes
6. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.770 minutes
1. Ledogar/Negri Jr./Piovanetti (F/USA/E), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 3:51.266 minutes
2. Campbell/Ried/Pera (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.322 minutes
3. Perfetti/ten Voorde/Cairoli (N/NL/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.647 minutes
4. Gunn/Dalla Lana/Farfus (GB/CDN/BR), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.105 minutes
5. Yoluc/Eastwood/Adam (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.299 minutes
6. Wainwright/Barker/Watson (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:52.346 minutes
Full results can be found here.