A subdued press release from Porsche Motorsport bearing good news from the World Endurance Championship in Bahrain suggests our favourite auto manufacturer has its own reservations on the situation there. Empty grandstands are no good for race fans.
AG’s quick round-up tells how Team Felbermayr-Proton celebrated its second win of the season in GTE-Am. “With their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti won the six hour race on the Bahrain International Circuit against strong opposition from Ferrari and Chevrolet. After a tough battle in the GTE Pro class, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) pocketed third place, repeating their recent Sao Paulo result.”
“It was a difficult race for us,’ said works man Lietz. “We had to conserve the tyres from the first to the last lap and this made us somewhat slower than the front-runners.” Lieb extrapolated upon his teammate’s view. “We can be pleased with third place. During my first stint I had some problems with conserving the tyres which didn’t work very well and cost me time. Afterwards things ran better. We simply find it hard in such temperatures. We know we have the performance, but not in such extreme heat. We need to work on this. Hopefully it’s a bit cooler at the last two races in Fuji and Shanghai and then we should be back up there again.”
I watched a bit of the race on Motors TV. It started just before sunset, ran into the night and certainly looked tough enough. Plenty of Porsche drama late on, when the JWA-Avila Porsche pitted from 4th place and immediately returned to the pits. Initially it looked like retirement from team & driver tweets, but the car eventally rejoined and finished in the points.
Starting from third on the GTE-Am grid, Paolo Ruberti soon snatched the lead, which they held for the majority of the race and stretched to a one-lap lead by the flag. Having started their season with a win at Sebring,this was their fifth podium from six races. “The whole team is very pleased with this win,” said Paolo Ruberti. “It wasn’t an easy race under such extreme temperatures but we did our very best. Now we’re looking forward to the race in Fuji.”
Porsche pictures from the weekend were beautiful: top marks to whoever was behind the lens this weekend. The absence of spectators at this gorgeous circuit is perhaps the most interesting point to take away from the pics. They certainly seem shot in such a way as not to highlight the emptiness: one wonders how much of the decision to run at night was a factor here also. All of us must hope that the humanitarian situation there improves as soon as possible.
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