911 in Motorsport: FIA World Endurance Championship Bahrain qualifying report
Six hours of racing are all that remain in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship. By the end of Saturday, the destination of the GTE class titles will have been decided in the heat of the desert.
Porsche AG Team Manthey has got its title tilt off to the best possible start by taking pole for the final round of the 2013 championship, held at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The Michelin-shod Porsche 911 RSRs are running their 2014-spec Evolution kit for the first time and the upgrades appear to have worked successfully, the Stuttgart manufacturer locking out the front row of the GTE-Pro class.
The number 92 machine of Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb led the way, with an average lap time of 1m58.833s, despite a gearbox problem. The Austro-German duo currently sit third in the drivers’ standings, 15.5 points behind Aston Martin’s Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner.
After vaulting into the championship battle with victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Lietz and Lieb have been outperformed by the Aston Martins over the last few races yet remain an outside bet for the championship crown.
The 2014 Evolution kit has given the Stuttgart drivers the best chance of fighting for their first world title, providing Porsche’s first GTE pole position of the 2013 season.
Just 0.123s behind the number 92 car over their four-lap qualifying run, Patrick Pilet and Jörg Bergmeister wound up second in their 911 RSR. After their fourth podium of the season last time out in Shanghai, the pairing will be confident of another top result on Saturday in the desert.
The six-hour race will start at 1:00pm (CET) and, as ever, will be broadcast live on the FIA WEC website. Make sure you keep up to date with all of Porsche’s 911 motorsport efforts on Total 911’s website.