The GT2 battle has lost one of its main protagonists and expected favorites. The ...
The GT2 battle has lost one of its main protagonists and expected favorites. The #77 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, driven by three Porsche factory pilots Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Wolf Henzler, has retired from this year's edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
As Lietz was attempting to make a routine pit stop, the car ground to a halt right at pit in. The regulations do not allow for cars to be worked on outside the pit lane with mechanics other than just the driver, and that meant the car was stalled.
Apparent fuel pump failure was the reason cited, as the team had shifted to the reserve pump towards the end of the fuel stint. Attempts to engage the car's reserve pump to the starter failed.
It had not returned to the pit and garage as yet. Oliver Hilger, head of Porsche Motorsport Press, confirmed the retirement and assessed Porsche's chances for winning the GT2 class the remainder of the way.
"The driver lineup for this car was the best," Hilger admitted. "There are still two good drivers on the IMSA car (the #76), and on the Lizard, there is still one factory driver, one decent driver and a gentleman driver. They (the Lizard) are leading at the moment, so we will just wait and see as there's still over 20 hours left."
Henzler was joining Lieb and Lietz for this race. Lieb had set quick time in qualifying at a 4:03.232 until Joerg Bergmeister came through and pipped it towards the end of the session by a mere three hundredths.
"I don't know what happened," Henzler said, looking distraught as ever wearing proper Porsche street attire, not his driver's uniform. "The car's still there but it was something with the fuel pump. Not sure if it was the pump or something else, but we are out."
At present, roughly three and a half hours into the race, Porsche's fortunes are mixed. The manufacturer still runs 1-2 in LM P2 with its RS Spyders, the Team Essex entry now driven by Casper Elgaard ahead of the Navi Team Goh car with Seiji Ara, overall champion here in 2004, in the #5 entry.
In GT2 the manufacturer still has the Flying Lizard and IMSA Performance Matmut entries running 1-2; Bergmeister is still in the Lizard after starting the car with Patrick Pilet now taking over from Patrick Long just behind.
The first ever Chinese entrant in the 24H, the Endurance Asia Team #75, has just been pushed behind the wall just past Mulsanne corner thanks to an apparent flat tire. Bulgarian driver Plamen Kralev in his Le Mans 24H debut was behind the wheel in this instance.