Le Mans Series, round 5 in Silverstone, Great Britain
Porsche is in a promising position to win the title at the final round of the Le Mans Series in Silverstone. After notching up three victories at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) have pulled away from their strongest rivals in the GT2 class and travel to the 5.141 kilometre time-honoured English race track with a clear points’ lead.
‘We know with the reliable 911, the Michelin tyres and our professional pit crew we have a very good package to secure the title. So we head to Silverstone feeling relatively relaxed,’ says 29-year-old Marc Lieb, who already claimed the GT2 drivers’ title in 2005 and 2006. ‘Still, you have to take care in such a situation not to lose your edge. If we have the chance to win, we’ll certainly try to use it. That would be a perfect finish to the season. But we won’t be taking any risks.’
Richard Lietz, his teammate at Felbermayr-Proton, is also excited about the Silverstone event. ‘The track is very demanding and flowing. I particularly enjoy the high speed corners,’ said the 25-year-old Austrian describing the former military airfield which has hosted car races since 1948. ‘I’m confident that this circuit will suit us better than the Nürburgring. Driving in England is always an experience. The fans are enthusiastic and, above all, Silverstone has a huge sports car tradition and you sense this everywhere.’
Also heading to the season finale with optimism are the pilots competing for the IMSA Performance Matmut squad. Patrick Pilet (France) and his compatriot Raymond Narac have pocketed a second place as their best result of the season. They now hope to secure their first victory on the Grand Prix track in Silverstone. Although Patrick Pilet is not familiar with the circuit, he is not unduly worried. ‘Last year in America I was constantly confronted with new race tracks and didn’t find it particularly difficult,’ says the 27-year-old. ‘Unlike me, my team has huge experience in Silverstone – and at the 1,000 kilometre race, where strategy and teamwork play a major role, this is very important.’ For Narac, this marks his fifth race on the legendary circuit. ‘I love the corners – they take a lot of courage. And the 911 has always done well here,’ says the Porsche dealer from Rouen. ‘Twice this season we’ve had competitors spoil our chances for top results through driving errors. Now we are hoping for a reconciliatory finish to the season and we want to celebrate the final round on the podium – preferably as winners.’
After two seventh places, the driver trio in the second Felbermayr 911 GT3 RSR are now striving for another points’ finish. As in the last four races, team boss Christian Ried (Germany), Horst Felbermayr Jnr. (Austria) as well as Portugal’s Francisco Cruz Martins again share driving duties in the #88 cockpit.
The final race of the Le Mans Series starts on 13 September at 11.35 hours local time (12.35 hours CEST) and receives the flag after 195 laps or a maximum of six hours. TV station Eurosport broadcasts the final live from 11.30 to 12.30 hrs local times (12.30 to 13.30 hrs CEST) and from 16.45 to 17.30 hrs (17.45 to 18.30 hrs CEST).
GT2 drivers’ classification after 4 of 5 races
1. Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Porsche, 33 points 2. Robert Bell, Gianmaria Bruni, Ferrari, 25 3. Pierre Ehret, Ferrari, 21 4. Antonio Garcia, Leo Mansell, Ferrari, 19 5. Allan Simonsen, Ferrari, 16
GT2 manufacturers’ classification after 4 of 5 races
1. Ferrari, 57 points 2. Porsche, 48 3. Spyker, 6 4. Aston Martin, 1