Disappointment For Marc VDS In Tough Argentine Opener
The final qualifying race of the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship season ended in disappointment for the Marc VDS Racing Team, with both cars failing to finish following a collision at turn one for the #40 Ford GT and a technical problem for the #41 Ford GT late in the race.
From the start of practice it was obvious that the Marc VDS Racing Team were facing a tough weekend in Argentina, with the Ford GT lacking in outright power compared to their rivals, on a track that features both changes in elevation and a long straight.
Despite this disadvantage Bas Leinders and Ricardo Risatti qualified the #40 Ford GT in 11th position but after a good start, Risatti's race was ended in the first corner when he was involved in a collision with two other cars.
Maxime Martin and Yann Clairay qualified in 14th position, but were forced to start today's qualifying race from the back of the grid following an engine change on the #41 Ford GT. A solid drive from Clairay and a typically rapid pit stop from the Marc VDS crew meant that Maxime Martin looked all set to claim a top ten finish in the race, before an electrical problem forced him to retire in the closing stages.
Bas Leinders: Ford GT #40 - DNF
"We knew this track was going to be challenging for our Ford GT, but I don't think we were expecting it to be quite this tough. Last year we were at least able to compete, but this time around the gap is simply too much. It's obvious that the other teams have made a big step in terms of speed, whereas our lack of development over the season is costing us dear. Qualifying in 11th position yesterday was a little more than we were expecting, but it turned out to be for nothing in the end, as a collision in the first corner put Ricardo out of the race. While it will be even more difficult starting from the back row of the grid tomorrow, with a good pit stop I think we can still be in with a chance of picking up points. Finally I'd like to congratulate Lucas Luhr, Michael Krumm and the JRM team on winning the FIA GT1 World Championship today."
Maxime Martin: Ford GT #41 - DNF
"It's been difficult for us all weekend, because we simply haven't been able to match the pace of the other cars with our Ford GT. We qualified in 14th position earlier today, but we had to change the engine on the car after a failure and the five position penalty for that put us at the very back of the grid. Yann stayed out of trouble and drove a good first stint and I was running in tenth place as the race entered the final stages. Unfortunately the car let me down right at the end, with an electrical fault forcing me out of the race. We will again start from the back of the grid tomorrow, for what I expect will be another difficult race. Today we benefited from quite a few retirements. We may not be so lucky tomorrow, but I hope we can still fight our way through for a top ten finish in the final race of the season."