At the debut of the World Endurance Championship in Bahrain, the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche squad celebrated its second GTE Am class victory of the season. 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. We had to conserve the tyres from the first to the last lap and this made us somewhat slower than the front-runners,” said Richard Lietz after the race which started at 4 p.m. in 40 degree Celsius temperatures and ran mainly in the dark. “It only became a little cooler in the night and towards the finish the tyres didn’t deteriorate quite as quickly so we could attack.” Marc Lieb added, “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.”
On the 5.407 kilometre Grand Prix circuit in the desert Kingdom, Paolo Ruberti took off from the third grid spot in the GTE Am class. But after a short time he snatched the lead which he and his teammates only relinquished briefly over the course of the race. At the flag they held a one-lap lead over their strongest rivals. The trio started into the maiden season of the new long distance championship with a victory at the twelve hour classic in Sebring, and now clinched their fifth podium result from the sixth race of the year. “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.”
Highlights of the Bahrain race will be broadcast on Eurosport on 2 October at 00.15 hours. The seventh round of the World Endurance Championship is contested on 14 October in Fuji/Japan.
GTE Pro class
1. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 170 laps
2. Mücke/Turner (D/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 169
3. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 169
4. Bertolini/Beretta (I/MC), Ferrari F458 Italia, 169
GTE Am class
1. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 165 laps
2. Kauffmann/Vickers/Aguas (USA/USA/P), Ferrari F458 Italia, 164
3. Krohn/Jönsson/Rugolo (USA/S/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 162
4. Bornhauser/Canal/Rees (F/F/BRA), Chevrolet Corvette, 157
5. Bourret/Gibon/Belloc (F/F/F), Chevrolet Corvette, 153