Campbell and Evans to start from 12th in GTE-Am at Le Mans
In Hyperpole for the Le Mans 24-hour race, six Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes get the chance to fight for the top grid spots, while Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans will start from 12th in the GTE-Am class.
The works team with drivers Kévin Estre from France and Italy’s Gianmaria Bruni wrapped up the 60-minute qualifying session on Wednesday evening in positions three and six in the fiercely contested GTE-Pro category. The Belgian Dries Vanthoor also achieved a spot in the top six with the 911 fielded by the HubAuto Racing customer squad and thus gained entry into the shootout on Thursday evening (19 August, from 9:30 pm CEST). In the GTE-Am class, the identical vehicles campaigned by Dempsey-Proton Racing, GR Racing and Project 1 finished first, second and fifth.
“The goal was to make it into the Hyperpole with both cars – and we did it,” said a pleased Alexander Stehlig, Head of Operations FIA WEC. “We were very efficient with the No. 92 car: Kévin needed only one attempt. He immediately planted the Porsche up the front and then simply had to wait and see. The sister car also made it into the top six. Moreover, I’m thrilled for our GTE-Pro customer team HubAuto Racing and the strong squads in the Am-class. Porsche occupies 50% of the Hyperpole spots in the GT classes with the 911 RSR. That’s fantastic!”
At the start of the one-hour qualifying session on the storied 13.626-kilometre circuit in France, Kévin Estre put in a dazzling performance in the No. 92 car. The local hero set a new lap record for GTE cars in 3:46.779 minutes on his very first flying lap. This time was then undercut again by two Ferraris. For the race, Estre shares the cockpit of the 911 RSR with his works driver colleague Neel Jani from Switzerland and Denmark’s Michael Christensen. The Italian Gianmaria Bruni also qualified the second factory-run 911 RSR for the Hyperpole. His co-drivers for the race this coming weekend are Richard Lietz from Austria and Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki.
The drivers of Porsche’s strong customer team contingent also turned heads. In the GTE-Pro class, Dries Vanthoor turned a blistering lap in the second half of the session and planted the No. 72 entry from HubAuto Racing on a sensational fifth place.
In the GTE-Am category, the Porsche Young Professional Julien Andlauer also shone: The Frenchman set a new record for the amateur class with Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 88 car in 3:48.620 minutes and landed on P1 with a lead of almost half a second. Britain’s Benjamin Barker secured second place in the identical 911 RSR fielded by GR Racing. At the very last moment, Italy’s Matteo Cairoli scored fifth with the No. 56 entry from Project 1.
The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of former Carrera Cup Australia champions, Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans, as well as German, Christian Ried qualified in 12th in GTE-Am, with a lap time of the 3:49.913 minutes.
1. Serra/Molina/Bird (BR/E/GB), AF Corse, Ferrari 488 GTE #52, 3:46.011 minutes
2. Calado/Pier Guidi/Ledogar (GB/I/F), AF Corse, Ferrari 488 GTE #51, 3:46.581 minutes
3. Estre/Jani/Christensen (F/CH/DK), Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR #92, 3:46.779 minutes
5. Martin/Parente/D. Vanthoor (B/P/B), HubAuto Racing, Porsche 911 RSR #72, 3:47.599 minutes
6. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR #91, 3:47.624 minutes
7. MacNeil/Bamber/L. Vanthoor (USA/NZ/B), WeatherTech Racing, Porsche 911 RSR #79, 3:47.682 minutes
1. Andlauer/Bastien/Arnold (F/USA/D), Dempsey-Proton Racing, Porsche 911 RSR #88, 3:48.620 minutes
2. Wainwright/Barker/Gamble (GB/GB/GB), GR Racing, Porsche 911 RSR #86, 3:49.100 minutes
3. Lacorte/Sernagiotto/Fuoco (I/I/I), Cetilar Racing, Ferrari 488 GTE #47, 3:49.102 minutes
5. Perfetti/Cairoli/Pera (N/I/I), Team Project 1, Porsche 911 RSR #56, 3:49.608 minutes
9. Inthraphuvasak/Latorre/Tincknell (T/F/GB), Proton Competition, Porsche 911 RSR #99, 3:49,788 minutes
12. Ried/Campbell/Evans (D/AUS/NZ), Dempsey-Proton Racing, Porsche 911 RSR #77; 3:49.913 minutes
13. Haryanto/Picariello/Seefried (RI/B/D), Absolute Racing, Porsche 911 RSR #18, 3:50.016 minutes
20. Olsen/Buchardt/Foley (N/N/USA), Team Project 1, Porsche 911 RSR #46, 3:51.411 minutes
23. Renauer/Ineichen/Bohn (D/CH/D), Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911 RSR #69, 3:52.960 minutes