Posted by: porschebahn | June 11, 2010

Qualifying for 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours

Four 911 GT3 RSR qualify in top ten

Great start for Porsche customers in Le Mans: In qualifying for the 24 hour race, four of six pilots driving the 911 GT3 RSR made the top ten in the GT2 category. With 18 cars from seven different manufacturers, this class is excellently supported and offers particularly tough competition. The fastest Porsche driver in the 450 hp 911 was factory pilot Marc Lieb (Germany), who lapped the 13.629 kilometre circuit in a time of 4.01.640 minutes. This puts Lieb fifth on the grid in the GT2 class with his works driver teammates, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany).

The qualifying session provided an extra portion of suspense through the constantly changing track conditions. While yesterday evening’s first session was dry, the second qualifying started on a damp track before it slowly dried up. “Fifth on the grid is okay,” said Lieb, who competes with Lietz and Henzler for the German Felbermayr-Proton team. “I could have done a better time, but I had a bit of bad luck with traffic.” Lietz added: “Despite the changing conditions we managed to find a good set-up. And that is the main thing when you’re tackling a 24 hour race.”

Patrick Pilet: “Our car’s balance is very good”

The trio manning the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the French IMSA Performance Matmut team was satisfied with the sixth grid position. “Our car’s balance is very good,” works driver Patrick Pilet (France) summed up. “We are well prepared and believe the key to success in Le Mans is not to make mistakes and stay concentrated.” Pilet takes up the race with works driver Patrick Long (USA) and Raymond Narac (France).

The drivers for the Italian BMS Scuderia Italia squad put in a remarkable performance with eights. All three contest the long distance classic for the first time. Britain’s Richard Westbrook set the qualifying time. His teammates are Porsche Junior Marco Holzer (Germany) and his compatriot, DTM champion Timo Scheider. “We’re all totally impressed with the track and the overall atmosphere,” said Holzer. “I’ve never driven such high speed corners before, so you have to feel your way to find the limit.” Scheider commented: “It’s crazy how many spectators already arrived at the beginning of the week.”

America’s Flying Lizard Motorsports were also not too unhappy with their tenth grid position. “I drove the fastest lap with used tyres,” explained works driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany). The GT champion of the American Le Mans Series shares the cockpit in Le Mans with Americans Seth Neiman and Darren Law.

Marc Lieb turned demonstration laps at the wheel of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid

Porsche’s factory drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France), who like last year received the go-ahead to contest Le Mans for Audi, take up the race in the R15 TDI from fifth place.

Between the second and third qualifying sessions, Marc Lieb turned demonstration laps at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. The technology of the race car expressly typifies the philosophy of “Porsche Intelligent Performance”. Its 480 hp normally-aspirated rear-engine is supplemented by two 60 kilowatt electric motors at the front axle. Prior to the start of the 24 hour race, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid will again turn demo laps, with the orange-white 911 available for race fans to have a close look at in the paddock over the entire weekend.

The 24 hour race gets underway on Saturday, 12 June, at 15.00 hours. Television stations Eurosport and Eurosport 2 take turns in broadcasting the race around the clock, with Eurosport, as a major sports channel, showing about two-thirds of the race live.

Result GT2 class qualifying

1. Melo/Kaffer/Bruni (BR/D/I), Ferrari F430 GT, 3.59.233 minutes
2. Gavin/Beretta/Collard (GB/MC/F), Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, + 0.202 seconds
3. Magnussen/O’Connell/Garcia (DK/USA/E), Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, + 0.560
4. Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander (F/I/FIN), Ferrari F430 GT, + 0.604
5. Lieb/Lietz/Henzler (D/A/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.407
6. Pilet/Long/Narac (F/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.522
7. J.Müller/Farfus/Alzen (D/BR/D), BMW M3 GT2, + 2.660
8. Holzer/Westbrook/Scheider (D/GB/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.781
9. Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen (D/AUS/USA), Ferrari F430 GT, + 3.194
10. Bergmeister/Neiman/Law (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.452

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