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LMS: Porsche works drivers secure good grid positions for Barcelona season-opener

Le Mans Series, round 1 in Barcelona, Spain

LMS: Porsche works drivers secure good grid positions for season-opener

For the Porsche works drivers, the first qualifying for the new season of the Le Mans Series (LMS) has been successful. On the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Patrick Pilet (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) planted their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on third and fourth place respectively in the fiercely-contested GT2 class. The third racing 911 takes up the 1,000 kilometre race from twelfth on the grid. The race on the demanding 4.655 kilometre Grand Prix circuit will get underway with a flying start tomorrow at 11.30am and receive the flag after 215 laps or a maximum of six hours.

LMS: Porsche works drivers secure good grid positions for season-opener

‘The car handled beautifully and the lap was perfect,’ said Patrick Pilet, who contested the American Le Mans Series in 2008 for Porsche. The 27-year-old shares driving duties for the French IMSA Performance Matmut team with his compatriot Raymond Narac. ‘The track is unbelievably slippery,’ said Pilet. ‘With 43 race cars on this short and twisty circuit, the race tomorrow will be a huge challenge to bring the car home in one piece. As a driver in the GT2 class you always have to keep your eyes ahead of you – but at the same time, because of the faster sports prototypes – in the rear vision mirror, as well.’

The two Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb (Germany) compete for the German Felbermayr-Proton squad. ‘My lap went perfectly and we’re happy with fourth,’ recounted the 25-year-old Lietz. ‘The new 911 was further developed over the winter months and is fantastic. We are now faster entering and exiting the corners.’ His 28-year-old partner Lieb added: ‘For us the main objective in free practice was to work on an optimal race set-up and to sort out the tyres. A good race set-up at this long race is the basis to success. The asphalt on this circuit is very aggressive so we’ve chosen a harder tyre compound from Michelin. It slows us down a little in qualifying but should be to our advantage in the race. And that’s what counts! We want to win and believe we have good chances – also because of the new tyres developed by Michelin.’

Horst Felbermayr Jr. (Austria) planted the third 911 GT3 RSR in the 2009 Le Mans Series on twelfth position in the GT2 class. Felbermayr drives with Germany’s Christian Ried and 21-year-old Francisco Cruz Martins from Portugal. ‘Everything’s great,’ beamed the Austrian. ‘With the tyres we decided on a harder compound on one side and the medium option on the other in the hopes that we get through the race well.’

Eurosport broadcasts the opening phase of the race live from 11.15 to 12.00 hours and from 12.45 to 13.15 hours, with highlights shown from midnight.

Result Qualifying GT2
1. Gianmaria Bruni (I), Ferrari F430 GT, 1:48.606 minutes
1. Antonio Garcia (ES), Ferrari F430 GT, + 0.060 seconds
3. Patrick Pilet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.146
4. Richard Lietz (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.400

5. Johan Boris Scheier (F), Ferrari F430 GT, + 0.818
6. Allan Simonsen (DK), Ferrari 430 GT, + 0.946
7. Anthony Beltoise (F), Ferrari F430 GT, + 1.242
8. Andrea Montermini (I), Ferrari F430 GT, + 1.558
9. Tom Coronel (NL), Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R, + 1.574
10. Michael Vergers (NL), Ferrari F430 GT, + 1.762

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