Marc Lieb set the fastest time in LMGTE Pro for Team Felbermayr-Proton to claim the class pole position for Porsche , the second time the team has taken pole position in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year.
“In the first lap the tyre pressure wasn’t high enough, but it was perfect in the second lap,” said Lieb. “The temperature today was much higher than in yesterday’s free practice, still the car ran beautifully. We are hoping to keep up this pace in the race. Amongst the Japanese there is a huge fan base for sports car racing. A lot of fans even came on Friday because they wanted to take photos and get some autographs. It’s great fun here.”
The best lap of Lieb, who shares the car with Richard Lietz, was more than three tenths faster than Gimmi Bruni in the better of the AF Corse Ferraris in the class, representing the #51 team – winners of the last four WEC races – in the 20 minute session.
“This pole position shows that developments with the car are going in the right direction,” said Hartmut Kristen, the head of motorsport at Porsche. “Now we’re hoping that the weather stays pretty much the same as today and it doesn’t get too warm. Then we can tackle the race feeling very confident.”
In the LMGTE Am Paolo Ruberti was the driver for Felbermayr-Proton in the #88 he shares with Christian Reid and Gianluca Roda. The Italian was third fastest in the class, losing out to Jean-Phillipe Belloc of Larbre Competition in the battle for class pole with Michele Rugolo’s Krohn Racing Ferrari in second place.
“This is a good position to start the race,” said Ruberti. “This track is great to drive on and very fast. It’ll certainly be interesting tomorrow.”