Pole streak continues: Porsche locks out first grid row at Long Beach
Stuttgart. Three pole positions from three events in the 2019 season: Works drivers Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Patrick Pilet (France) have planted their No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR on the first grid spot for round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach (USA). Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) complete the first grid row in their ca. 510 hp racer with the starting number 912. So far this season, the Porsche GT Team remains unbeaten in the hunt for top qualifying times.
During the 15-minute qualifying session, Nick Tandy advanced closer and closer to the track barriers at the street circuit in California, with the Briton improving on his best time with each lap. In 1:16.313 minutes, Tandy not only set a new qualifying record at Long Beach, but also added to his personal record in the IMSA series. This marks the seventh time that the Porsche works driver from Bedford (Great Britain) has posted the fastest time in the GTLM-class qualifying.
Laurens Vanthoor employed the same strategy as his British teammate. At the end of the qualifying session, the Belgian was just 0.064 seconds adrift of Tandy’s fastest time. Porsche takes off into the 100-minute race at Long Beach with two cars on the front row for the second consecutive time after an ideal qualifying at the twelve-hour in Sebring (USA).
Steffen Höllwarth (Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “Positions one and two – it simply doesn’t get better than this. We have a perfect record with three pole positions from three events. Today’s pole is probably the most important of the year, since overtaking is very difficult at the short race at Long Beach. We can now start the race from the front and somewhat dictate the strategy to the competition. We can take a moment to enjoy this achievement, but then we have to turn our full attention to preparing for the race.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “The fastest lap was really very good. I never expected such a great lap time. After free practice we changed a few minor details on the setup. This meant that I was able to put in a blistering lap early in the session while the tyres were still fresh. That was probably the key. In the race it’s more about maintaining the tyres over the distance. That’ll be another challenging task.”
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “This is a perfect result for Porsche. I would very much have liked to post pole, and it was in fact on the cards. During my last flying lap I was on my way to topping the time sheets but then I made a slight mistake in the penultimate corner. Second on the grid is good, of course, but I’m a little disappointed. I’ve often been second over the last two years, but my time will come to be on pole position.”
1. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:16.313 minutes
2. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:16.377 minutes
3. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette C7.R, 1:16.520 minutes