Posted by: porschebahn | May 5, 2009

Preview of Le Mans Series Round 2 at Spa-Francorchamps

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First race of the new season for the Porsche RS Spyder

Round two of the Le Mans Series promises to be thrilling in many aspects. Firstly, in Spa-Francorchamps this year for the first time, the LMP2 multiple winner of last season lines up on the grid – the Porsche RS Spyder. Moreover, Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria), who won the GT2 class at the season-opener in Barcelona with their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, are eager to secure their second win and increase their lead in the championship. And finally, the 7.004 kilometre circuit itself is an adrenalin rush for drivers and fans: The 1,000 kilometre races on the time-honoured track in the Ardennes are legendary.

Running the Porsche RS Spyder in Spa is the Danish Essex team. At the wheel are regular driver Casper Elgaard (Denmark) as well as newcomer Kristian Poulsen (Denmark) and Emmanuel Collard. In 2009, the 38-year-old Frenchman enters his seventh year as a Porsche factory driver. One of his greatest triumphs was the overall victory with the RS Spyder at the Sebring 12 hour race in 2008. Casper Elgaard (31) celebrated a podium result last year in Spa with Essex as well as his second place in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Kristian Poulsen (33) won a race at the 2008 Danish Touring Car Championship.

Emmanuel Collard: “It’s always great fun to drive on this challenging race track”

“We are all very much looking forward to the race in Spa,” says Emmanuel Collard. “It’s always great fun to drive on this challenging race track with its fast corners. And with the RS Spyder the race will be something very special. After all, ever since our triple victory in 2008 we know that, thanks to its excellent balance, the RS Spyder and this circuit are made for each other.” Essex uses the second round of the Le Mans Series to prepare for the Le Mans 24 hour race (13/14 June). There, the team will compete with the same trio and attempt to repeat last year’s success with the RS Spyder. With the regulations stipulating a considerable decrease in air restrictor size, the 3.4-litre V8-engine now delivers 440 hp instead of 476.

Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz travel to Spa feeling optimistic

Another team looking forward to Spa with huge anticipation is the Felbermayr-Proton outfit, who runs two Porsche 911 GT3 RSR cars in the near-standard GT2 class. With Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz’s win in Barcelona, the German squad had a perfect start to the season. Hence, Marc Lieb travels to Spa-Francorchamps feeling optimistic. “Winning did me the world of good,” says the 28-year-old. “But straight afterwards we concentrated totally on Spa. We still have a lot of potential in the set-up of our updated car, and that’s what we want to tap fully at the second race. We were strong in Belgium last year where I secured second and now with the further developed tyres from Michelin we’re looking even better. Apart from that, Spa is one of my favourite race tracks!”

The driver trio of the second Felbermayr 911 is an international line up with Horst Felbermayr Jr. (Austria), Christian Ried (Germany) and Francisco Cruz Martins (Portugal). The IMSA Performance Matmut team brings a 911 GT3 RSR to compete. Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet and Raymond Narac (both France) were lying a promising second at the season-opening round when they retired. “We now want to do everything in our power to make amends,” announces Patrick Pilet.

The 1,000 kilometre race in Spa-Francorchamps takes off on 10 May at 12.50 hours and runs over 143 laps or maximum six hours.

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