Matt Campbell, Dirk Werner and Dennis Olsen overcome setbacks in the #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R / Romain Dumas and Mathieu Jaminet’s home event comes to an early end
ROWE RACING claimed another top result in the third race of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season. At the atmospheric 1000-km race on the Formula 1 circuit at Le Castellet in the South of France, Porsche works driver Dirk Werner of Germany and the two Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell of Australia and Dennis Olsen of Norway finished in fifth place in the #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R. After six hours of racing, the trio missed out on their first podium of the season by little more than six seconds. The three drivers and the St. Ingbert team overcame several setbacks during the course of the race, including a drive-through penalty, and on the 174th of 176 laps, after a test of patience, Dennis Olsen pulled off the overtaking manoeuvre that clinched fifth place.
In contrast, the race came to an early end for the sister car, which was also awarded a drive-through penalty. Frenchman Romain Dumas, who took over from his German works driver colleague Sven Müller after the initial phase, was forced to return the #98 Porsche 911 GT3 R to the pit with damage to the underbody at his home event, meaning that fellow countryman and Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet was unable to get involved in the action in front of his home crowd.
After strong performances in qualifying, the #99 and #98 cars started the race from fifth and ninth on the grid. Matt Campbell and Sven Müller moved up into third and fourth place on the first lap, before the race was neutralised for almost half an hour behind the safety car. During a second safety car period, the two ROWE RACING cars moved up into second and third place, which they defended until the first pit stops.
Several problems and individual errors, as well as drive-through penalties for both cars, pushed the two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs of the St. Ingbert team down into positions 28 (#99) and 26 (#98) as the race progressed. While the #98 then retired from the race, Dirk Werner in the #99 set off on a successful race to catch up and sent Dennis Olsen into the final third of the race in seventh place. After his final tyre change, the Norwegian was stuck behind a rival for 28 laps before managing to overtake him on the third to last lap.
The next appearance in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is the highlight of the series. At the legendary 24 Hours of Spa on 27th and 28th July, ROWE RACING is eager to build on its successes of 2016 and 2018 with its Porsche 911 GT3 R, when they finished in first and second place in the Belgian Ardennes. The performance at Le Castellet has filled the team with confidence. With the third-best racing lap by #99 and the ninth-best time by #98, both cars once again indicated they have what it takes to finish on the podium.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, ROWE RACING team principal: “At the third race of the season, we once again delivered a performance that enabled us to battle for the podium. Our new Porsche 911 GT3 R worked really well on the third different track as well, our improvements did the job. The fact that we were able to maintain this top level even during decreasing temperatures and in the night fills us with great confidence for the 24 Hours of Spa. Unfortunately, we made too many individual errors today, which is why ultimately we missed out on the podium. We need to remedy that. However, in our favour is the fact that we don’t let setbacks during the race get us down and we always give it our all to try and move back up the field. The long races suit us, which is why we are already looking forward to Spa.”