Porsche's Lietz to miss Monza due to COVID, Makowiecki steps in

Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Richard Lietz will miss this weekend’s round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Monza after testing positive for COVID. 

#91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Pro of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki

The Austrian Porsche factory driver will be replaced in the #91 GTE Pro class 911 RSR alongside Gianmaria Bruni for the Monza 6 Hours on Sunday by Makowiecki, who was the third driver in the car when it took the class win at the double-points Le Mans WEC round last month. 

Lietz tested positive for COVID on Wednesday night prior to his scheduled departure for Monza, and after a second positive test on Thursday Porsche approached the stewards of the meeting about bringing in a replacement. 

The announcement from Porsche on Friday morning of Lietz’s replacement by Makowiecki on Twitter coincided with the publication of a stewards bulletin accepting the German manufacturer’s request to make a change.  

Frenchman Makowiecki was understood to be travelling from his home in Montpellier at the time of the announcement and should be in situ at the track for the start of the opening 90-minute session of free practice at 15:30 local time. 

#91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19: Richard Lietz

#91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19: Richard Lietz

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Makowiecki, who has been a Porsche factory driver since 2014, will be making his first appearance in a regular WEC round since last November’s Bahrain season-finale. 

Porsche opted to run three drivers in each of its Manthey-run factory cars for the eight-hour race in the Middle East, also bringing in Michael Christensen to share the sister car with Kevin Estre and Neel Jani.  

Both Makowiecki and Christensen also contested the eight-hour WEC fixture as third drivers in the two works mid-engined 911 RSR-19s at the Algarve circuit near Portimao in June last year.  

Lietz’s absence from Monza effectively ends his bid for a second WEC GTE Pro title to go with the crown he won in 2015. 

He and Bruni lead the championship race going into the Italian race, with a three-point lead over team-mates Estre and Christensen and five points over factory AF Corse Ferrari drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado

Porsche has not been fined for the change of driver, the stewards’ bulletin confirmed.

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