With six hours of the Petit Le Mans now completed the ...
With six hours of the Petit Le Mans now completed the #18 VICI Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is running a consistent pace, having popped in and out of the lower reaches of the top-10 during the last three hours. The car, being driven by Marc Basseng, Nicky and Francesco Pastorelli, has now completed 215 laps. In fact the race has come to us somewhat as we pass the half distance mark, and our pace has improved over the last couple of hours. The #18 car is running well with no reported problems and Technical Director Roland Wall is pleased with the performance so far.
The fourth hour for VICI Racing at hot and sunny Road Atlanta this afternoon saw Nicky behind the wheel of the #18 car, having taken over from his brother at 2:02 PM (2 hr 46 min running) with fresh tires and a full fuel load. Nicky is the first of the trio to begin a second stint this afternoon. More yellows were furiously waved at 2:21 PM after the #888 Creation hit the tire wall at Turn 1, an incident that continued the theme of full course yellow flag periods that have served to break up the flow of the race this afternoon. The course went back to green at 2:39 PM, but just 2 mins later the #12 Lola went into the wall at Turn 3 and everything slowed to a crawl again. Green conditions again at 2:56 PM and Nicky was able to turn in consistent 1:23-bracket laps until the end of his stint at 3:11 PM (3 hr 55 mins).
Marc took over for his second stint after the crew fitted four new tires and fuelled up the #18 car. On the pitwall Nicky was satisfied with the progress. "The track has improved for the car during my second stint, I'm happier than I was during the first stint for sure. We can run pretty good lap times which have come down now."
The next caution arrived at 3:28 PM and the yellows fluttered around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn permanent road course until 3:44 PM. At 3:58 PM (4 hr 42 mins) Marc, who drove here last year to a podium finish, pitted for fuel and tires but remained in the car to double stint as Roland moved to a strategy that will see the drivers double-stinting.
Statistically, the #18 car completed the fourth hour in 13th place in GT2 having completed 135 laps, and at the end of hour five it was in 11th place with 173 laps of Road Atlanta under its belt. Hour six ended in 10th place with 215 laps having been completed.
Technical Director Roland Wall says that at this stage of the race, caution is the key. "I don't want to take any unnecessary risks at this point; we need to keep it all together. I must say I'm pleased with the team's performance all afternoon; the pitstops have been superb, very quick, all the drivers have run very similar, quick and consistent times. I am taking care now with the car and the tires; I hope that it will be pretty uneventful to the finish."
As the first shadows start to make an appearance at Road Atlanta, the team now enters the final four hour stretch with Francesco behind the wheel of the red, white and black #18 car. The 10-hour/1,000-mile race will end in the darkness, with the yellow headlights that denote the GT2 cars will soon be piercing the gloom.