Navarra: Matech Competition Sunday report

Qualifying race The Matech Ford GT1 no.6, driven by Neel Jani and Nicolas Armindo, took the start of the Qualifying race from P-3 thanks to a good qualifying session yesterday. Matech Ford GT1 no.6 started the race in P-11 with Thomas Mutsch and...

Qualifying race

The Matech Ford GT1 no.6, driven by Neel Jani and Nicolas Armindo, took the start of the Qualifying race from P-3 thanks to a good qualifying session yesterday. Matech Ford GT1 no.6 started the race in P-11 with Thomas Mutsch and Richard Westbrook.

Both cars did not have a perfect start, as Nicolas Armindo lost 3 places during the first 2 laps and Thomas Mutsch was 15th in lap 2. In addition, the door of car no.5 had a problem and was opening in corners for a few minutes! Thomas Mutsch managed to close the door while he was driving but the team was scared of a serious problem which required a return to the pit. In lap 14, car no.6 was 4th after overtaking cars.

After the driver change, Neel Jani was racing with good lap times and was very close to the Ford no.40 of the Marc VDS Racing Team, but he did not succeed in overtaking it. Car no.6 finished the qualifying race in P-4. Lap after lap, Richard Westbrook overtook cars and thanks to a withdrawal, he finished the race in P-10.

Championship race

Richard Westbrook had a very good start and was 8th with car no.5. Neel Jani also made a good start, being third on the first lap. But then, a Maserati hit Neel and destroyed the race of car no.6, which was 15th after the crash. For car no.5, the race was also unlucky because a car hit it too as well! Car no.5 was running in P-12 and car no.6 in P-13 in lap 5. After this first unlucky stint, Matech Ford GT1 no.5 was 9th and Matech Ford GT1 no.6 was 12th before the driver changes. During the driver change, Neel Jani and Nicolas Armindo lost a little bit of time because of the belts and Nicolas Armindo came back on track for his second stint with the Matech Ford GT1 and finished the race in P-9.

For car no.5, the disaster continued as the Maserati no.2 blocked Thomas Mutsch and pushed him into the wall of the pit lane. Then, during the first lap of his stint, Thomas tried to overtake a Corvette but hit it. The car was damaged but could run to the pit, where the team decided to announce the withdrawal.

Ford GT1 Matech no.5

Richard Westbrook : "It was a bad, bad weekend, and it just summed up our whole weekend in the second race when I made a mistake in the wet. I had some damage from hitting the Lamborghini during the first lap, and lost a lot of front downforce and so had even less grip in the wet. I spun the car going down the gears on a greasy part of the track. But then we could come back and get some positions, but I am sorry that I put Thomas in that position. We shouldn't have been fighting down in that position...I had a fantastic start, we had a quick car and we should have got some good points for the team, and they deserve much better than that."

Ford GT1 Matech no.6

Neel Jani : "A very promising weekend, the start was also very promising, but then it becam very bad unfortunately. I still hoped that a few others cars get a drive through in front of us because there were so many collisions going on. This morning we finished the Qualifying race in P-3, which was a good result. For his first race, Nicolas Armindo did an amazing job. Then during the Championship race, I did a super start as P-3, I came on the outside of everyone, I was running well in P-3 and then I just got hit from the back by a Maserati and that was really a shame as he destroyed our race and his race too. But I guess that's the difference when you have a professional drivers and gentleman drivers. I'm sure we would have finished on the podium".

Nicolas Armindo : "I'm very happy of this weekend as I could discover the Matech Ford GT1, which is a fantastic machine, and the team, which is great ! I'm happy about our job but I'm a little bit sad because we lost time during the pit stop because of the belts. It's really a pity that a Maserati hit Neel as I'm sure we could reach the podium. I had a very good feeling with the car, I don't know my lap time yet but I was closer and closer to the Vitaphone, we also had good speed during the race. I'm happy to come back again in GT1, it was my second race and the first one with Matech and I'm happy to be invited".

-source: matech-competition.ch

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Neel Jani , Richard Westbrook , Thomas Mutsch , Nicolas Armindo
Teams Marc VDS Racing