Fastest Race Lap and Top Five Result for Proton Competition in Spa

Proton Competition produced its best performance of the season thus far during FIA WEC’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The number 99 of Neel Jani (SUI) and Julien Andlauer (FRA) dominated the race for long stretches before a red flag threw everything into disorder just two hours before the checkered flag.  The team from Ummendorf’s Porsche 963 managed to salvage a 5th place overall finish and took home fastest lap accolades.

In true Spa-Francorchamps style, Saturday’s race delivered a roller coaster of a ride. The height of emotions was experienced when the race was stopped two hours before the finish because of damage to the Kemmel Straight safety wall caused by a crash from which the 99 car barely escaped. Fans and teams watched as officials raced against the clock to make repairs. As the time ticked down to zero and hopes of a restart faded, officials unexpectedly announced that the clock would be reset and the last two hours of racing could take place after all. 

It was here that the eventual winners of the race found their luck. Having pitted just before the crash, Hertz Team JOTA and Porsche #6 factory took the lead as the competition, including Proton Competition’s #99, were forced into the pits to fill their tanks. Despite this setback, Andlauer continued the team’s strong drive, advancing four places to his eventual finishing position of fifth.

Voices after the race
Michael Ried, team owner and technical director Proton Competition: “All in all, this was a good test for Le Mans. Our 963 drove the fastest lap of the race and led for long stretches. The podium was within reach. The strong team performance gives us confidence for Le Mans.”

Christian Ried, team owner Proton Competition: “As a team, we presented ourselves well on this demanding track. For a long time it looked as if we could cause a surprise with our 963. Not many people believed that we would dominate the race over long stretches. Without the red flag and the safety car, a podium would have been possible today. We are working towards that. After Spa, I am very optimistic that we will achieve this goal very soon.”

Julien Andlauer (Porsche 963 #99): “This was the best weekend so far for the Porsche 963 from Proton Competition. We were able to prepare very well in the training sessions for the first time this season. The set-up was right, as were the tires, the strategy and the energy management – the rest was pure racing. After the red flag we initially slipped from third to ninth place. In the last two hours I gave it my all and tried to catch up as much as possible. This performance was exactly the right motivation for Le Mans.”

Neel Jani (Porsche 963 #99): “On the one hand, we are very happy with our performance. On the other hand, an even better result would have been possible for us today. But the safety car came at the wrong time for us and cost us the podium. We were the fastest Porsche and the Porsches in front of us simply had better luck with their strategy. You need this luck, that’s racing. This race is a great motivation for Le Mans for the entire team. Even though we are just a small private team, we can achieve a lot. Today was just a small taste.”

Next Up:
FIA World Endurance Championship WEC continues on the 15th/16th June at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France).


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