FIA World Endurance Championship, Bahrain, 30/11/2013

The title chances of IMSA Performance Matmut were buried when the rear left suspension of the Porsche GT3-RSR #76 failed and Markus Palttala had to pit for lengthy repairs. During the first 4 hours, Palttala, Narac and Vernay had been racing consistently in the top 3, which would have been enough to bring the FIA WEC GTE-Am championship title to the French team. After returning to the race, the Matmut trio crossed the line 6th securing 3rd in both the team and drivers’ championship.

“We were going well and had the team title practically in our pocket. To win also the drivers’ title for JK and Raymond, we would have needed to pass one car and we were on it. When I felt something was wrong during my 2nd stint, I hoped it was just a tyre going flat but unfortunately it was more serious. It became a real handful as the car wouldn’t go straight anymore and kept snapping left and right unexpectedly, but I kept fighting to keep our chances alive. The guys did a great job to get us back on track quickly but on this level, there’s no margin for delays. Porsche is probably the most reliable GT car out there so it’s a real shame we now got this problem, but that’s part of racing. In any case, everyone at IMSA Matmut can be proud of what they achieved this year. 3rd in both WEC championships and Le Mans win is a great debut in the world championship. It was great to be a part of it and I’d like to thank the team and Porsche for their confidence in me.”

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FIA World Endurance Championship, Fuji, 20/10/2013

Markus Palttala was called to return in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Le Mans winning French outfit IMSA Performance Matmut for the remaining 3 races in Japan, China and Bahrain. The quick Finn shares the Porsche 911 GT3-RSR #76 with regular drivers Raymond Narac and Jean-Karl Vernay who are in contention for winning the LMGTE-Am title.

The Japanese round of the FIA WEC was a disappointment for all the teams and fans as the race ran just 16 laps, all behind the Safety Car, and was red flagged due to torrential rain. The IMSA Matmut Porsche finished 5th in class after gaining 3 positions in the early race pitstop shuffle.

“It’s fantastic to be back in WEC which is the top level of sports car racing in the world.  IMSA Matmut is one of the top teams with a couple of Le Mans wins and LMS titles under their belt and I’m always happy to jump in a Porsche. Raymond and JK are great drivers so when the team called me to support their title challenge, the decision was really easy. The weekend started well with P1 in FP1 and 2nd in FP2, but then we messed up the qualifying. We were a bit too conservative with the setup, chose the harder tyre with the race in sight and the car was a real handful with nearly no grip at all when the peak was gone. I made it worse trying to compensate by pushing too hard and we ended 8th. We were not that worried because the race is long and forecast said rain, which always suits the Porsche. Unfortunately, that rain was too hard and the green light never came and we had no opportunity to fight back to the front. It’s a shame they handed out points for a race that never started and it’s especially a shame for us because Fuji is the calendar’s best circuit for Porsche and the tricky weather was what we were hoping for. I want to thank the thousands of Japanese fans for sticking with us throughout the day, you are the best! It’s going to be a tough fight to challenge for the title as the Aston Martin is so much quicker than any of the other cars, but I’m looking forward to Shanghai where we will give it everything we have.”

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