On home soil the Porsche Team achieved the eighth pole position for the Porsche 919 Hybrid since its race debut last year. The current season has so far seen a 919 on pole for every round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). On the 5.137 kilometre long Nürburgring track drivers Romain Dumas (FR) and Marc Lieb (DE) were the overall fastest in qualifying for Sunday’s six-hour race. The grid position right next to them was claimed by Timo Bernhard (DE) and Mark Webber (AUS) at the wheel of the sister car for the first ever German round of the WEC.
Porsche, the 2015 Le Mans winner, maximised its chances to defend the lead in the manufacturers’ world championship in tomorrow’s race.
In the WEC the average of the best laps of two drivers counts for the grid position. Dumas/Lieb achieved an average time of 1:36.473 minutes with Lieb putting in the overall fastest lap with a time of 1:36.192 minutes. For Bernhard/Webber the clock stopped at 1.36,542 minutes. For the race Brendon Hartley (NZ, car number 17) and Neel Jani (CH, car number 18) complete the driver line-ups. In order to help qualifying preparation, these two did not drive in the third free practice session on Saturday morning either. That 60-minute practice saw both Porsche 919 Hybrids topping the time sheets, with car number 18 being quickest (1:36.036 min) and car number 17 coming second (1:36.647 min).
The race at the Nürburgring is the fourth of eight rounds of the 2015 WEC and will start on Sunday at 13:00 hrs (CEST). The TV channel Eurosport will broadcast the final hour of the race and the podium ceremony live from 18:00 until 19:15 hrs.
Quotes after qualifying:
Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development: “First and second – this was a perfect job. In qualifying the intense development work and the new aerodynamic package paid off. We have every reason to be confident for the race.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “It is remarkable that over the summer break we not only managed to keep the performance of the car after winning Le Mans, but even improved it with a new aero package. It looks like a promising start to the second half of the season. Our target is to secure the manufacturers’ world championship title for Porsche.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “This is a great start for us. Qualifying was a perfect exercise by the entire team – mechanics, engineers and, of course, the drivers. We rotate all the drivers in qualifying and the fact that we have been on pole each time so far proves what a fantastic line-up this is. There was certainly a lot of pressure on us before our home race, and now we have to manage that in tomorrow’s race as well.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 17
Timo Bernhard (34, Germany): “This is a great result – congratulations to the sister car’s crew. My lap was good, Mark unfortunately never really had a clear one with no traffic. However, it is very good to be second on the grid and we are very well prepared for the race. Tomorrow we will attack.”
Mark Webber (39, Australia): “Great day for Porsche with another front row lock out. Especially on such a short circuit this shows the progress we have made with the car. On my first attempt another car got in my way and we organised ourselves to do another lap, which wasn’t planned. We are in a great shape and, anyway, qualifying is only a small part of the job in endurance racing.“
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 18
Romain Dumas (37, France): “It was a great qualifying. Marc did a terrific job, but it was a hard battle with our sister car. I had traffic on my first lap, so I had to do another one, which then luckily was enough. I think all six Porsche drivers are very close together here, the gap is only a few tenths of a second, so the race will be intense.”
Marc Lieb (35, Germany): “I was the first to go out and had a really cool lap. The car was very well balanced, and it was good fun. Many thanks to the team for giving us such a superb car. Our new aero package has a huge potential which we need to exploit step by step.”