A good starting position for Porsche at round two of the new World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps: During qualifying on the demanding Ardennes circuit, Nicolas Armindo (France) achieved the fastest time in the GTE Am class with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by IMSA Performance Matmut. In the GTE Pro category, Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (German) planted his Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which he shares with his factory pilot colleague Richard Lietz (Austria), on the fourth grid spot. In free practice, Lieb posted the quickest time.
“We are not totally satisfied because we were much faster in free practice yesterday,” said Marc Lieb. “In my first two laps, the car’s balance was not so great, and then I encountered quite a lot of traffic on the circuit. Position two on the grid would have been realistic, but over a six hour race it doesn’t play such a big role. Since Sebring our vehicle has generally improved, we made good progress there. We’re now working on those few tenths of seconds that we need.”
The IMSA Performance Matmut squad, who are focussing on the European Le Mans Series this season, regards the Spa round as training for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “We are very happy with our performance,” said Nicolas Armindo, the 2010 champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. “We’ve shown that we can also match the pace of the leaders in international GT racing. We don’t yet know what the weather is going to do tomorrow, but right now we’re very pleased as pole-sitters.”
The six hour race starts on Saturday at 14.30 hours. Eurosport 2 broadcasts the race live from 19.00 to 20.30 hrs, Eurosport televises highlights on 9 May from 00.00 to 01.00 hr.
GTE Pro class
1. Makowiecki/Melo (F/BRA), Ferrari F458 Italia, 2:19.770 minutes
2. Fisichella/Bruni (I/I), Ferrari F458 Italia + 0.343 seconds
3. Fernandez/Mücke/Turner (MEX/D/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.457
4. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.481
5. Bertolini/Beretta (I/MC), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.115
GTE Am class
1. Armindo/Narac/Pons (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 2:21.640 minutes
2. Perazzini/Cioci/Griffin (I/I/IRL), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.335 seconds
3. Ehret/Montecalvo/Jeannette (D/USA/USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.422
7. Camathias/Palttala/Daniels (CH/SF/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.935
8. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.718