Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz could wrap up the defence of their GT2 class title with round remaining by winning the inaugural Le Mans Series race at the Hungaroring. The two Porsche work drivers, racing for Team Felbermayr-Proton, began the season with wins in the first two races of the championship and a third success for the pair in the fourth race of season could seal the title before the series' finale at Silverstone.
The go into the race with a ten point lead over the Ferrari duo of Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander. Porsche hold a slender three point advantage over BMW in the manufacturers' title
However, despite the possible glory the pair remain focussed on the race itself. “We want to win the race, but we're not thinking about the championship,” says Lieb. “We'll do the best job we can and try to finish without making any mistakes. The rest will unfold. At the previous race in Portugal our opponents were very strong. Now we have to find an answer.”
In looking towards to the race on August 22 both Lieb and his Austrian teammate Lietz are optimistic that they may have found that “answer” to bring to Hungary. “The tyres play an important role,” believes Lieb. “But I don't believe we'll have problems with wear,” while Lietz puts emphasis on the importance of fuel milage – potetenially saving a pitstop could decide the winner of the 229-lap (1000km) race.
The championship contenders will head the four strong Porsche assault on the race.
In a second Felbermayr-Proton entry regular drivers Martin Ragginger and Christian Reid will be joined by Porsche works driver – and winner of this year's Le Mans and Spa 24 Hours (the latter in a team which also included Ragginger) – Romain Dumas.
Frenchmen Patrick Pilet and Raymond Narac (both members of a team which finished second behind Ragginger, Dumas et al at Spa) will once more share the IMSA Performance Matmut fielded car, still looking for their first podium of the year. Marco Holzer and Richard Westbrook will once more driver for ProSpeed Competition.
The race at the Hungaroring begins at 4pm and is expected to end in darkness, the conditions and track presenting new challenges to the teams, Lieb warning that the stint during dusk “will not be easy”, while Ragginger in a comment that will be familiar to F1 followers says “It'll certainly be an exciting race. The track is really demanding and there are not many chances to overtake.”