Porsche dominates at the Six Hours of Monza
A perfect performance from the GT Team in WEC
After a closely fought battle with home favourites Ferrari, Porsche has won the maiden Monza staging of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The GT Team took up round three of the 2021 season from pole position on the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza after works driver Kévin Estre turned in another stellar qualifying lap on the famously high-speed circuit north of Milan. On a different tyre strategy, Gianmaria Bruni posted the third quickest time in the sister car, while the best 911 in GTE-Am class, the RSR fielded by Project 1, started P4.
Sunday’s six-hour race saw temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius from the start, with polesitter Estre successfully fending off the challenge from Ferrari despite several yellow phases, maintaining a small gap until the end of his double stint. Teammate Neel Jani then became embroiled in several duels with the Maranello works entrants, losing the lead only to regain it with an impressive overtake. In the final third of the race, Estre returned to the car to bring home the second win of the season for Porsche with another a flawless driving performance, aided by perfect tactics and faultless teamwork.
“I’m extremely pleased because this win came as a complete surprise,” said Estre. “We knew that our 911 RSR was really fast over one lap
and we proved this with pole position. But at the same time, we had expected Ferrari to be faster than us over the whole distance. We delivered a flawless race – everyone did. Thanks to blisteringly fast pit stops, our team managed to win critical seconds over the competition. What’s more, we had an ideal strategy and my teammate Neel Jani was in top form. That was one of the toughest WEC races I’ve ever contested.”
Bruni had also delivered a spirited drive on the rapid and demanding Italian circuit, but was unable to avoid a spinning GTE-Am car towards the end of his second stint and the resulting damage prevented him from mounting a serious challenge for second place. Nevertheless, he and teammate Richard Lietz finished the race in third, splitting the Ferraris and adding valuable points to Porsche’s overall season tally. Behind them, the best-placed GTE-Am Porsche of Project 1 took a respectable fourth.
Thanks to their second class victory of the season, Kévin Estre and Neel Jani have reclaimed the lead in the drivers’ championship. In the manufacturers’ classification, Porsche ranks second, just seven points off the lead as they head to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Congratulations to the entire team!” said a jubilant Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport. “The drivers and crew put in an impressive performance. Thanks to this victory in the home of our main rival Ferrari, we’ve reclaimed the lead in the drivers’ classification and significantly reduced the gap in the manufacturers’ championship. It was the perfect rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which we’ll tackle with maximum motivation.”
Round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship is the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 21/22 August. The official test day on the 13.626-kilometre circuit will be held a week before the start of the 89th edition of the endurance classic.