Porsche's weekend racing roundup
Highs and lows in a busy weekend of motorsport
Following two successive podiums, the Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team arrived at Monaco on Saturday in confident mood. But round seven of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship would prove to be a frustrating one.
Pascal Wehrlein took up the race from eighth place after missing the Super Pole by just five-hundredths of a second. But chaotic scenes at the first hairpin saw him pushed back to 15th. He was unable to make up the places on the narrow street circuit and shortly before the flag was hit from the rear, resulting in a puncture that saw him finish in the pits.
Teammate André Lotterer started the race in 19th but the experienced and determined driver managed to finish the 45-minute race in an impressive ninth place. However, he was subsequently handed a five-second time penalty for contact with a competitor in the final lap, relegating him back to 17th.
There was better news for Porsche Motorsport over at the Nürburgring, however, where customer team Frikadelli Racing looked imperious in the qualifying race for the 24 Hour race next month.
This six-hour event offers teams and drivers the only chance to test on the 25 kilometre combination of the Grand Prix circuit and Nordschleife before the full 24-hour race in early June. Porsche Young Professional Julien Andlauer planted the Rutronik Racing 911 GT3R on the front grid row in qualifying, with Matteo Cairoli driving Manthey-Racing’s 'Grello' car and Fred Makowiecki in the No. 31 Frikadelli Racing entry also in the top five.
Porsche works driver Romain Dumas took the start for Rutronik, but the Frenchman was shunted into a spin on the Grand Prix circuit and lost ground. This gifted Makowiecki second place and on lap 12 took the Frenchman took the lead for the first time. After handing the car over to compatriot Patrick Pilet, the team had created a lead of over 20 seconds by the midway point. Maxime Martin then took the wheel in the fourth hour and extended their advantage.
Caution phases and clever pit stop strategy saw Manthey-Racing’s number 911 car back in contention with half an hour left in the race, but failure to observe a yellow flag earned the team a penalty of more than a minute which ultimately relegated them to fifth, This also served to promote the Frikadelli Racing sister car to second for an unexpected one-two finish.
“Our teams did an extremely good job, and the qualifying race procedures were great,” said Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “We made virtually no mistakes, and with one small exception, the pit stop times were satisfactory. Unfortunately, the penalty handed to the Manthey-Racing cost them their second place – but it’s better that such things happen during the preparation than at the 24-hour season highlight at the Nürburgring. In terms of performance, things look positive for us. Finishing in first and second is great, even if the competition put us under a lot of pressure, especially during the second half of the race. There’s not a lot of homework to do now, we’re feeling well prepared.”
This year’s Nürburgring 24 takes place on the weekend of 5 and 6 June with qualifying held on Thursday 3 June.