Posted by: porschebahn | July 19, 2010

Qualifying for Le Mans Series round 3 in Portimao

Porsche pilots with good team effort

With places four, five and six on the grid, the Porsche pilots have secured good starting positions for the third round of the Le Mans Series. Fastest in the 911 GT3 RSR of the German Felbermayr-Proton team was Martin Ragginger (Austria) in fourth ahead of French Porsche factory driver Patrick Pilet (IMSA Performance Matmut). For the title defenders and GT2 points’ leaders after two wins, the qualifying at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve didn’t run as smoothly as expected: Competing for the Felbermayr team, works drivers Richard Lietz (Austria) and Marc Lieb (Germany) take up today’s 1,000 kilometre race at 17.00 hours (CEST 18.00 hours) from just sixth. Porsche Junior Marco Holzer (Germany) qualified the 911 from the Belgian ProSpeed Competition squad on the ninth spot.

“Sixth in qualifying is not exactly thrilling,” stated Marc Lieb. “But Richard made the most of our not so perfect set-up. We haven’t got a lot of time left to do something about it because the race starts this afternoon.” Richard Lietz added: “There is no reason to stress about it. Up to now we’ve always profited from our consistency and the reliability of the 911. We’re staying cool. Our goal is to stay at the top of the points and we’re confident we’ll achieve this.”

Richard Westbrook: “We are feeling optimistic for the race”

“In my fastest lap I made a slight error in the first corner but I’m still satisfied with fourth,” summarised the former Porsche Junior Martin Ragginger. “It’s another step forward for our driver trio and puts us in a good starting position for the race. I have to admit, the top time today was simply not within our reach.” The Austrian shares driving duties in the cockpit of the Felbermayr 911 with Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and team owner Christian Ried (Germany).

The French team is also feeling optimistic. Patrick Pilet and his compatriot Raymond Narac are not only full of confidence after their win at the fifth round of the GT Open a week ago. “Right from the first practice, the handling of our 911 GT3 RSR in racing set-up was very good,” says Pilet. “For this reason we feel very well prepared for the 1,000 kilometre race. With it starting this afternoon we’re feeling rather excited.”

Porsche Junior Marco Holzer is somewhat disappointed over his ninth in qualifying, particularly after clocking up the fastest time in the GT2 class during the second practice. “We had no wind today and it’s hotter than yesterday. That changed the track conditions, and we didn’t have the right tyre pressure for that.” His teammate Richard Westbrook (Great Britain), reigning FIA GT champion, added: “We’re feeling optimistic for the race because we’ve found a great set-up. The start into the new series was not easy for the team but we’ve already reached a good level.”

Qualifying GT2 class

1. Gianmaria Bruni (I), Ferrari F430 GT, 1.43.310 minutes
2. Toni Vilander (FIN), Ferrari F430 GT, + 0.202 seconds
3. Tim Mullen (GB), Ferrari F430 GT, + 0.699
4. Martin Ragginger (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.995
5. Patrick Pilet (FRA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.057
6. Richard Lietz (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.214
7. Matias Russo (ARG), Ferrari F430 GT, + 1.464

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