Porsche Team Manthey driver Richard Lietz will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend, with the race at Fuji marking his first race back since breaking his arm at the Virginia International Raceway.
Lietz, who was driving for Porsche North America in the TUDOR Championship, suffered the break during practice for the Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR back in August after a heavy crash involving him and Corvette Racing driver Jan Magnussen.
“I actually broke my elbow in eight places,” said Lietz. “But luckily it has healed really well and really quickly. There’s a little ache now and again but I’m absolutely fine.
“After having to stand down in Austin due to my arm injury, I’m now fighting fit and I can’t wait to tackle the WEC again. In the past, Fuji has proved excellent turf for us. In 2012 we won, and last year we put in a strong performance in practice. Unfortunately the stormy weather during the race put a spoke in the wheel, so to speak.”
Sharing the cockpit of the #91 Porsche 911 RSR with Lietz will be Joerg Bergmeister, with the sister #92 being driven by French duo Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet.
“Our 911 RSR is constantly improving over the season,” said Makowiecki. “Moreover, my teammate Patrick is seriously fast. We held the lead in Austin for quite some time but had to settle for second shortly before the flag.
“I hope we see the finish line first at Fuji. I actually won last year’s unusual race there. Perhaps that’s a good omen.”
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, who will be in his new role of Head of Porsche Motorsport this weekend taking over from Hartmut Kristen, is looking forward to the race after their strong showing last time out in Austin.
“I’m looking forward to the first race in my new role,” he commented. “At Austin recently, the team put in a strong showing and I hope we can turn that good performance into a top result in Fuji. In any case we’ll do our very best to keep improving our position in this exciting fight for the title.”
The 6 Hours of Fuji will start at 11am local time (8am GMT) on Sunday, barring any weather impacts from the incoming Super Tyhpoon Vongfong.