For the second round of the FIA GT Series, at Zolder, it was up and down for the qualifying race and championship race with very good results on one hand and bad luck on the other.
Sébastien Loeb Racing confirmed its place among the top competitors with two finishes just off the podium with the McLaren MP4-12C of Mike Parisy and Andi Zuber. Fast all weekend, the sister car of Sébastien Loeb and Alvaro Parente was unfortunately unable to seal the deal.
Then I focused on keeping in touch with the leaders who are very fast. Our car handled well, even better than at Nogaro and the team did a good job.
We did the most we could do and we can be satisfied with this hard work. It’s a good result !"
Mike Parisy (McLaren MP4-12C #10), 4th: " We score a lot of points and finished just outside the podium. The Audis and Lamborghinis are untouchable and we were at our max.
The entire team is working full song thanks to the level of performance from this Championship. It’s exciting. As for me, I tried to keep a quick pace as soon as I took over for my stint before managing tyres for the end. I leave Zolder happy and optimistic for the rest of the season."
Originally scheduled to take the start from the front row after a great qualifying effort, the No. 9 McLaren of Alvaro Parente and Sébastien Loeb is forced to take the start from the back of the grid after a turbo issue outside of the team’s control. The sister car, the No. 10 of Mike Parisy and Andi Zuber consiquently inherite fourth place.
Although fighting in the middle of the pack, Alavaro Parente makes his way back to the top 10. Unfortunately, a slight contact with the No. 21 BMW would garner a drive-through penalty from race control with Sébastien Loeb serving the penalty after the driver change.
The Alsacian driver then returned to the pits due to a broken shock absorber. For Mike Parisy and Andrea Zuber, their Saturday was more satisfying. From the green lights, Mike took on the WRT team.
Spending the entire race battle for top positions, the No. 10 McLaren was in the hunt for a podium finish and after an animated end of race, finished fourth, only a half second from third place. In the process, Andreas ensures a second row start for the championship race.
The start is given under covered skies but dry weather. Although the No. 10 Sébastien Loeb Racing McLaren MP4-12C is on the second row, the sister car of Loeb/Parente is in 17th place thanks to their finish in the qualifying race.
From the start, Andreas Zuber finds the fight with the leaders. Without taking the lead, Andi stays glued to the rear of Mayr’s Audi and sets his pace accordingly.
Further behind, things are more complicated for Sébastien… After a very good start, the No. 9 McLaren gains several positions and finds itself in the middle of the pack. Just outside the top 10, Sébastien sees the No. 28 Mercedes close the door on him. The multiple World Rally champion is able to rejoin the race, but is forced to pit with a left front tyre puncture.
In front, the sister car is luckier. Still in fourth position, a handful of seconds from the leading trio, Andreas dives into the pitlane to hand the car off to teammate Mike Parisy.
Immediately the fresh driver puts together several quick laps to build enough of a gap to Rene Rast’s Audi to cross the finish line in a comfortable fourth place.
Another source of satisfaction for the team: the race pace of the No. 9 McLaren. After taking the wheel, Alvaro Parente turned laps close to the winners’ rhythm.
Sébastien Loeb Racing’s next race is this coming weekend at Le Mans for the season openers of the French FFSA GT Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup France.
Sébastien Loeb Racing