Second grid row for Marc Lieb
Stuttgart. In qualifying for the second round of the Le Mans Series in Spa-Francorchamps, Marc Lieb (Germany) secured the fourth grid spot in the GTE Pro sports car category. With this, last year’s winners Lieb and Richard Lietz (Austria) have clinched a good starting position for the 1,000 kilometre race on the challenging circuit in Belgium’s Ardennes region with the 2011 version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. In the GTE Am category, in which just one professional race driver may compete per vehicle, Frenchman Nicolas Armindo again clinched pole position in the 2010-spec 911 GT3 RSR.
“My lap was quite okay and, after the free practice, fourth on the grid is what we had expected,” said Lieb. “A half second gap to the pole-sitter is not a lot on a seven kilometre circuit. Tomorrow’s race will be tough. The opposition is strong and many. But we’ll go flat out and would like to finish on the podium.” Teammate Lietz commented: “Compared to last year’s car, we didn’t manage to find the perfect set-up for the new 911. We simply don’t have the experience from the first round where through no fault of our own we retired due to the flawed start.”
Taking up tomorrow’s six-hour race from eighth on the grid are the two Porsche works drivers Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France). The professionals from the French IMSA Performance Matmut team were also not particularly satisfied with the set-up of their 911 GT3 RSR. “We tried several things but they turned out to be in the wrong direction,” Henzler concluded. “We feel the same as Marc and Richard, the experience with the 2011 car is missing because of our retirement in Le Castellet. We’re hoping to make up some positions through a good strategy and consistent driving performance.” Belgium’s race professional Marc Goossens qualified the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by ProSpeed Competition on the tenth grid spot. His teammate, Porsche factory pilot Marco Holzer (Germany), was pleased. “With 60 vehicles on this demanding circuit, the race is going to be challenging.”
Like in Le Castellet, Nicolas Armindo was delighted with his pole position in the GTE Am category. The reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland shares the cockpit of the 911 GT3 RSR – on the technical basis of 2010 – with his compatriot, IMSA Performance team owner, Raymond Narac. Austria’s Horst Felbermayr Junior posted the sixth fastest time in the GTE Am-911 run by Felbermayr-Proton. He joins forces with Bryce Miller from America. Team owner Christian Ried (Germany) takes up the race from ninth in the class with Nick Hommerson from the Netherlands.
Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard (Germany) was the fastest of the entire field at the wheel of the Audi R18 TDI. Bernhard shares driving duties in the sports prototype with Porsche factory pilot Romain Dumas (France) and former Porsche Junior Mike Rockenfeller.
The six hour race starts on Saturday, 7 May, at 14.05 hours. Eurosport broadcasts the entire race live. Eurosport 2 televises the Spa round from 14.00 to 17.30 hours, with the free-to-view station showing the last two and a half hours live from 17.30 hrs.
GTE Pro class
1. Jaime Melo (BR), Ferrari F458 Italia, 2:20.743 minutes
2. Robert Bell (GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.172 seconds
3. Giancarlo Fisichella (I), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.343
4. Marc Lieb (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.548
5. Augusto Farfus (BR), BMW M3, + 0.717
8. Wolf Henzler (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.212
10. Marc Goossens (B), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.896
GTE Am class
1. Nicolas Armindo (F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:23.007 minutes
2. Marco Cioci (I), Ferrari F430, + 0.262 seconds
3. Phil Quaife (GB), Ferrari F430, + 0.478
6. Horst Felbermayr Jr. (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.592
9. Christian Ried (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.790
The Le Mans Series
Contested for the first time in 2004, the Le Mans Series (LMS) is open for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations are based on those of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Five six-hour races are contested this season throughout Europe.
GTE-Pro class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers (previously known as the GT2 class) is traditionally the best supported: Slightly modified standard sports cars with up to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms.
GTE-Am class: Like the GTE-Pro, but with the 2010-vehicle specifications. Moreover, the regulations stipulate that each vehicle must have one professional driver at the most.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp, GT-class homologated engines and a 900 kg minimum weight.
FLM class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.
All race cars start together but are classified separately according to the class. Points are only allocated for placings in each class. Championship titles are awarded for drivers, manufacturers and teams in all five classes. Claiming the title in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, Porsche works driver Marc Lieb is the most successful pilot in the series.
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