Mark Webber says Porsche 919 debut WEC podium is a "massive step"
|By Gary Watkins||Monday, April 21st 2014, 14:58 GMT|
Mark Webber has heralded Porsche's podium in the Silverstone World Endurance Championship opener at the weekend as "massive step" for the German manufacturer on its return to top-flight sportscar racing.
The nine-time grand prix winner finished third with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley behind the two Toyota TS040 HYBRIDs, after what he described as an "astronomical" effort from the Porsche team.
"It is a great day for sportscar racing to have Porsche back on the podium and it is a massive step for us," he said.
"It is a nice surprise for us to be as competitive as we were. It's been a brilliant day — and we are going to work hard for the next race [Spa on May 3].
"I'm happy to have played a small role in the effort that's gone in from the team and everyone back at the factory to get to this point.
"We were a bit overawed at pulling the whole weekend together to be honest: we all concentrated on our roles and, it is a bit of a cliche, but that is probably what got us through."
The two Porsche 919 Hybrids qualified third and sixth, both within half a second of the pole-winning Toyota over a four-lap average.
The Porsches were handicapped in the damp and wet conditions because they were running in low-downforce configuration as part of their preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours, but Webber was able to run with Stephane Sarrazin in the second-placed Toyota during the penultimate hour of the race.
The second 919, which was shared by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, retired early in the second hour with an undisclosed driveline problem.
This followed suspension repairs following the loss of the left front wheel straight after the car's first pitstop.