ROWE RACING overcomes bad luck in qualifying to claim fourth place at Silverstone after impressive recovery performance
Romain Dumas, Sven Müller and Mathieu Jaminet make up 35 places / second car also in with a chance of scoring points until 15 minutes before the end
St. Ingbert, 12th May 2019 – ROWE RACING was rewarded for two impressive recovery performances at Silverstone, the ‘Home of British Motor Racing’, with a fourth-place finish. The two Porsche works drivers, Romain Dumas from France, Sven Müller from Germany, and the French Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet drove the #98 Porsche 911 GT3 R to fourth place in the second race of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, making up a nearly unbelievable 35 (!) places in three hours of racing after starting from 39th position. In the team’s second car, Porsche works driver Dirk Werner from Germany with the two Porsche Young Professionals, Dennis Olsen from Norway and Australia’s Matt Campbell, were also within touching distance of the top ten until 15 minutes before the end of the race, when a drive-through penalty knocked them back down to 19th place.
The two ROWE RACING crews had started the race with a huge handicap after race control had ended the first of three qualifying sessions early due to two red flags. Alongside nine other cars in the starting field, both Porsche cars from the St. Ingbert team then had no chance to drive a timed lap and could only start from 38th and 39th positions on the grid. The times in the two other qualifying sessions would have been good enough to start from the third and fourth rows.
However, both cars put on impressive recovery performances. A hectic early section of the race included a safety car period after a mass pile-up on the first lap, but the starting drivers, Romain Dumas in the #98 car and Dennis Olsen in the #99 car, each made up 23 places in just 15 laps. Dumas then made an early pit stop for the first driver change but the team wanted to leave Olsen on the track for as long as possible. The Norwegian driver progressed to ninth place but then had to come into the pits two laps earlier than planned after problems with the rear left tyre. This meant that the #99 car did not enjoy the same luck as some other teams that gained a significant amount of time thanks to changing drivers during a later full-course yellow phase.
ROWE RACING refused to be discouraged by this minor setback and continued the chase with fast, consistent lap times. The final drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell were in ninth and 14th positions after the second set of changeovers and moved up to sixth and eleventh within nine laps. After making contact with a competitor, Campbell was then knocked back by a drive-through penalty with 15 minutes remaining. However, Jaminet benefited when two cars ahead of him collided and he moved up to fourth place during the final two laps. The two ROWE RACING Porsche 911 GT3 Rs recorded the fifth-fastest and sixth-fastest lap times.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, ROWE RACING team principal: “That was not for the faint-hearted today. We put on an outstanding performance with the two chases and we were rewarded with fourth place. We and some other teams could not understand why race control made the decision to end the first qualifying session before time was up. Had that not been the case, we might well have done even better. The red flag meant that the laps we were completing at that moment were removed from the standings and the cancellation of the remaining qualifying period prevented nearly a quarter of the starting field from reaching grid positions corresponding to their level of performance. That clearly distorts the sporting events. However, we did make the most out of the situation. The team gave their all, the drivers turned in an absolutely error-free performance and showed what level our Porsche 911 GT3 R has already reached in the second race. After the season-opener in Monza, the two test days at Silverstone allowed us to continue developing the car. Congratulations are certainly in order for the team and the way they dealt with this very long weekend.”