Posted by: porschebahn | April 30, 2010

Preview of Le Mans Series round 2 in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

Porsche heads to second race holding a clear lead

With great optimism and a well-filled points’ account, the Porsche pilots head to the 1,000 kilometre race on the legendary Grand Prix circuit at Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps on 9 May. Works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) tackle round two of the Le Mans Series in the 911 GT3 RSR, run by the German Felbermayr-Proton team. After their success at the season-opener in Le Castellet, the title defenders lead the drivers’ classification in the excellently supported GT2 class. Their Felbermayr colleagues Martin Ragginger (Austria), Christian Ried (Germany) and works driver Patrick Long (USA) occupy second place. Thanks to a double victory at the first race of the season, Porsche also holds a clear lead in the GT2 manufacturers’ classification.

“We can’t wait to get to Spa,” says Marc Lieb. “To travel to my favourite circuit as points’ leader makes the anticipation even greater. Last year we celebrated pole position and victory there – and of course that’s exactly our goal this time. But the season-opening race in Le Castellet underlined that the competition in the GT2 class has become closer and tougher.” Richard Lietz adds: “Without doubt, the Spa race will again be demanding, but the 911 GT3 RSR is the perfect car for the rollercoaster in the Ardennes. The fact that we secured a one-two at the first race and earned double points is a huge step towards defending the title.”

Christian Ried: “Make no mistakes, reach the flag and bring home points.”

Optimism reigns as well amongst the drivers of the sister 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Felbermayr-Proton, after team owner Christian Ried, former Porsche Junior Martin Ragginger and Patrick Long celebrated a podium result at their first race together. “I have a great deal of respect for the hilly circuit in Belgium with its fast and fearsome corners,” says Christian Ried. “We will attempt to continue what we did at the season-opener – make no mistakes, reach the flag and bring home points.”

The French IMSA Performance Matmut squad is eager to continue its strong performance from the season-opening race in Le Castellet. Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet (France) and his compatriot Raymond Narac were running an excellent second when a defect halted their charge. “Our car ran beautifully,” says Patrick Pilet. “So we’ll be coming to Spa feeling good. After all, on this circuit good balance is everything for fast laps.” The third Porsche team, Prospeed Competition, is also looking forward to racing on the legendary race track. For the Belgian outfit, which won the drivers’ classification of the 2009 FIA GT Championship before switching to the Le Mans Series, Spa is practically a home race. With reigning FIA GT champion Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) and Porsche Junior Marco Holzer (Germany), the team has a top driver pairing. Prospeed brings a second 911 to Spa with drivers Paul van Splunteren, Niek Hommerson (both Netherlands) and Louis Machiels (Belgium).

Eurosport broadcasts large parts of the race live

The 1,000 kilometre race on the traditional 7.004 kilometre circuit starts at 11.30 hours on 9 May and runs over 143 laps or a maximum of six hours. Television station Eurosport broadcasts live from 11.15 to 12.00 hours and from 14.00 to 15.00 hours and televises the final phase on a delayed base from 17.30 to 18.00 hours. On Tuesday after the race from 23.00 hours a one-hour recap is aired. For those who missed the exciting first round in Le Castellet, highlights will be broadcast on 9 May from 8.30 to 9.30 hours.

Points’ standings GT2

1. Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Porsche, 32 points
2. Patrick Long, Martin Ragginger, Christian Ried, Porsche, 28
3. Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 24
4. Pierre Ehret, Pierre Kaffer, Phil Quaife, Ferrari, 20
5. Luis Perez Companc, Matias Russo, Ferrari, 18
6. Jörg Müller, Dirk Werner, BMW, 16
7. Patrick Pilet, Raymond Narac, Porsche, 14

1. Porsche, 60 points
2. Ferrari, 44
3. BMW, 16

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