Porsche emerged, once more, victorious at the second round the Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps as Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz took their second victory of the season for Team Felbermayr-Proton.
The pair, who are defending LMGT2 champions, completed 124 laps of the 7.004km circuit – just 15 off the pace of the winning LMP1 car – taking fifteenth place overall in the six hour race.
Such was their performance of the Porsche works drivers, and that of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, that they beat the lead LMGT1 car and won the super-competitive LMGT2 class by a lap from the first of AF Corse Ferrari's in second place.
“That was one exciting race,” said Lieb. “Even the first stint was no walk in the park – it suddenly bucketed down on the two fastest passages. But I enjoyed the difficult conditions – the 911 also runs beautifully on a damp track. Once again our clever team strategy was the key to success.”
“Fortune and misfortune balanced each other out during the safety car phases,” added Lietz. “I'm relieved we didn't get caught up in any of the accidents. Some of the boys drove like there was no tomorrow.”
The next best 911 was the all-French IMSA Performance Matmut effort of Patrick Pilet and Raymond Narac. Pilet, another works Porsche driver, started the day with a spin in the greasy conditions shortly after the race started. After that the car ran faultlessly, fighting its way back up the class, its rise only checked by what Porsche describe as “strong vibrations” in the final hour.
Two other Porsches found their challenges blunted by the repeated Safety Car periods. “We had to wait for ages in the pit exit. That dashed our hopes for a further podium result,” said Patrick Long as he and Martin Ragginger fell short of giving Team Felbermayr-Proton another podium, finishing eighth in class.
It was similar story for Prospeed Competition and drivers Marco Holzer and Richard Westbrook. However the team remained positive after finishing ninth in their only second ever LMS race; “Unluckily we lost a lot of positions with our pit stop timing when the race was halted and during the caution phases but we didn't let it get us down,” said Westbrook. “After all, things ran much better for our team at the second Le Mans Series race than at the premiere.”
All four teams – if not with the same drivers – now look ahead to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month where a total of six 911 GT3 RSR will race in the LMGT2 class.