Kevin Estre described Porsche’s race as “quite smooth” which saw with a commanding 1-2 finish in GTE-Pro that has put he and co-driver Neel Jani within arm’s reach of the championship lead.
The No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 picked up its third class victory of the FIA World Endurance Championship season in Saturday’s 6 Hours of Bahrain, in a race that saw points leaders Ferrari not play a factor.
Estre and Jani combined to lead the entire six-hour contest and have closed to just a single point of AF Corse’s Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado in the GTE drivers’ world championship.
The sweep has given Porsche a one-point lead in the GTE manufacturer’s world championship, meanwhile.
“I think the Ferrari stayed with us for the first five or six laps and then they started to drop,” Estre said. “It seemed like we were a bit better on the tires because we could stay a bit more constant.
“The 91 [car] was on our tail the whole race, which was nice to have somebody with us.
“It was good for Porsche because this double victory we needed for the manufacturers’ championship and it’s also helped us in the drivers’ championship.
“The race was quite smooth. Bahrain is always a tough track on tires, especially with the heat from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tire suffers a lot from the track temperature.
“The team did great on the strategy. We didn’t take any crazy risks. We were in control today.
“Everything was correct and it was a big team victory. I’m really happy with this one and it was very important for the points.”
Both Pier Guidi and Ferrari’s Attivita Sportive director Antonello Coletta declined to comment to Sportscar365 post-race, and instead urged for the ACO to instead comment on the Balance of Performance situation.
Ferrari was given a turbo boost reduction in the range of 25 horsepower ahead of the event, which Calado predicted would give them “no chance” in the race.
The Ferraris finished third and fourth in class, with the No. 51 entry of Pier Guidi and Calado some 35 seconds behind.
The ACO and FIA has declined to comment specifically on the Ferrari BoP situation, which was made outside of the automatic system by utilizing its so-called ‘black ball’ rule.
Porsche’s Jani, meanwhile, believes the cooler conditions in next weekend’s season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain could benefit the Prancing Horses.
“You could see the Ferraris were on our tails in the beginning,” he said. “Then the moment the heat came, they struggled a bit more. So we do think with cooler conditions the race might look very differently.”