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Porsche Hopeful of Ending “Horrible” Le Mans Run

Factory drivers Lietz and Christensen hopeful Porsche can turn fortunes around at Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen are hopeful Porsche will be able to bring an end to a difficult spell at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the factory GTE-Pro team, having only scored a single class podium from two challenging races with the 911 RSR-19.

The German manufacturer last took class honors in the French endurance classic in 2018 and secured the world championship with a double podium in 2019.

However, since the introduction of its current car, it has struggled at Le Mans. In 2020, it finished a distant fifth and sixth in class after both cars encountered issues in the race.

A year later, the No. 92 Porsche of Christensen, Kevin Estre and Neel Jani took third while its sister car was the last classified finisher in fourth after it hit trouble late on.

Richard Lietz, who characterized Porsche’s recent run at Le Mans as “horrible”, hopes that next weekend’s 90th edition will break the spell.

“It was a frustrating two years,” Lietz told Sportscar365. “We’ll see if Le Mans is a bit more nice to us this year.

“I think it’s the third time [with the car] so everybody should know the car. We should be adjusted in the correct way.

“We know the setup, everything should be fine. The only question mark for me is the new fuel from this year and the new tires we got.

“So I hope we don’t get any issues with the tires. But at the end, the car is not new. So I think the basics should be all settled.”

Christensen, who was part of Porsche’s last GTE-Pro victory in 2018 with the ‘pink pig’, believes that the manufacturer has taken steps to ensure the mistakes of the past two years will not be repeated – and thus believes it is in a better position than before.

“It’s been some hard years, to be honest, Because I think that you can always look back and say ‘Okay, we have to improve [on] this and that,'” he said.

“We have some experience now, from success and from failures. Definitely, there [were] some things that we needed to improve.

“But also, among those hard years, there has been some things we have done very well, but didn’t reflect on results. So for sure, frustrating in different ways.

“But this year, I believe that we have a lot of knowledge, we have a lot of experience, from drivers to engineers.

“Basically I believe we have the package but Le Mans is a special one and you never really know what you get until you start racing. But I believe we have gotten very good progression.”

Pier Guidi: Repeat Win Will Be “Very Difficult”

Ferrari and AF Corse are is coming into the event as the defending GTE-Pro winners, having taken last year’s class victory with Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Come Ledogar.

It was the second win in three years for Ferrari, interrupted by an Aston Martin Racing triumph in 2020.

“I know how difficult it was the last two times, so I think it will be difficult again,” Pier Guidi said.

“Normally when you when win the year before it’s difficult to repeat the year after.

“We should try. I know it will be difficult, very difficult, but we will try.”

Pier Guidi and Calado will be reunited with Daniel Serra, who was part of the 2019-winning lineup. 

The Brazilian replaces Ledogar, who now primarily races Porsches but will race a Ferrari for Garage 59 in the GTE-Am category at Le Mans this year.

Pier Guidi is glad to see Serra return, citing the strong working relationship with the two-time GTE-Pro class winner.

“Daniel was with us in 2019, last year he was in the 52 and now he’s back with us,” he said.

“I’m happy with him, honestly. We have a [good] relationship, he’s a good guy. I’m sure he will do a good job.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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