They finally did it. At the end of a gripping six-hour race of the Le Mans Series at Silverstone, title defenders Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) celebrated their first podium result of the season. In the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Felbermayr-Proton, the Porsche factory pilots brought home third place in the fiercely-contested GTE Pro class. Works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and Marc Goossens (Belgium) claimed fifth place, with works driver duo Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) rounding off the good team effort with seventh. And in the GTE Am category, in which just one professional race driver is permitted per vehicle, a double victory was achieved with the 2010-spec 911 GT3 RSR.
“It was a good race. Our aim was a podium spot and we did just that,” reported Marc Lieb. “There were a couple of minor errors that we want to iron out by the Estoril round, then we’re more competitive. The Ferrari that finished second had a little luck in the pit lane exit during the safety car phase. Otherwise second place could have been possible for us.” Teammate Richard Lietz commented, “Normally, Silverstone is not really a circuit that suits our 911. But this time we were able to match the lap times of our opponents. This is a good development particularly with the final in Estoril approaching. The car wasn’t easy to drive, we had to fight every inch of the way. But after our bad luck early on with one retirement caused by others, it feels really good to finally climb the podium again.”
Works driver Marco Holzer and his Belgian teammate at ProSpeed Competition Marc Goossens also had a podium place in sight for quite some time. “Our car ran excellently in the first part of the race and at times we were sitting in third,” said Holzer. “But in the last stint I lost grip at the front axle and couldn’t turn into the fast corners very well. It’s a shame, because over quite a few laps I had this great duel going on with a Ferrari and a BMW which I sadly had to give up.”
The German/French works driver duo Wolf Henzler and Patrick Pilet (IMSA Performance Matmut) were not entirely happy with their seventh position. “On the one hand we’re pleased because we were competitive again today, no one shunted us off the track and the car ran perfectly,” summarised Pilet. “But the balance was not that great. The first laps on new tyres were okay, but then the handling became difficult.” Henzler, who recently celebrated two victories in the American Le Mans Series, added, “It’s great to reach the flag without problems. But the car was hard to drive. We realise we’re not yet where we want to be with the set-up. Nevertheless, after a problem free race in Silverstone we are heading to the final in Portugal in a fortnight feeling optimistic.”
It was all smiles amongst the Porsche teams in the GTE Am class. Scoring their third win of the season with the 911 GT3 RSR in the 2010 specification (as per the regulations), Frenchmen Nicolas Armindo and Raymond Narac further extended their class lead in the drivers’ standings. Second place for works pilot Patrick Pilet (USA) and Porsche Cup winner Gianluca Roda (Italy) in the Proton Competition 911 rounded off the top result for the Porsche teams. Felbermayr-Proton team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and Horst Felbermayr Junior (Austria) were not particularly pleased with sixth place. The pair held third for quite some time – and they have a win from the season-opener in Le Castellet to their credit.
Statistics: 4th of 5 races in the Le Mans Series in Silverstone/Great Britain
Result GTE Pro class
1. Fisichella/Bruni (I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia, 168 laps
2. Ortelli/Makowiecki (MC/F), Ferrari F458 Italia, 167
3. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 167
4. Priaulx/Alzen (GB/D), BMW M3 GT, 167
5. Holzer/Goossens (D/B), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 167
6. Farfus/Müller (BR/D), BMW M3 GT, 167
7. Henzler/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 167
8. Farnbacher/Simonsen (D/DK), Ferrari F458 Italia, 167
Result GTE Am class
1. Armindo/Narac (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 164 laps
2. Long/Noda (USA/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 164
3. Mullen/Ehret/Wills (GB/D/NL), Ferrari F430, 162
6. Ried/Felbermayr Jr. (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 162
The fifth and final round of the Le Mans Series takes place on 25 September in Estoril/Portugal.
Source : Porsche Factory News