Nurburgring: Matech Competition qualifying race report

Close to the workshop in Mayen, Matech Competition is racing at home here at the Nurburgring. Free practice and pre-qualifying sessions took place on Friday August 27th with rain forecast. It was hard for the team to find a good set up for the ...

Close to the workshop in Mayen, Matech Competition is racing at home here at the Nurburgring. Free practice and pre-qualifying sessions took place on Friday August 27th with rain forecast. It was hard for the team to find a good set up for the qualifying session which took place on a dry circuit.

Thomas Mutsch, driving Matech Ford GT1 no.5, finished the Qualifying 1 in p22 (1.59.211). This meant that his team mate Richard Westbrook couldn't take part to Q2. Driving the Matech Ford GT1 no.6, the new Matech driver Nicolas Prost was still discovering and learning the car and because of the changing weather like conditions, things were not easy for him. He completed Q1 in p16 (1.58.743) and handed the car to Neel Jani, who did not drive on a dry track yesterday, and took the start of Q2 and finished in 11th position on the grid (1.58.253).

Matech Ford GT1 no.5 and 6 took the start of the Qualifying race from p22 and p11. After a tricky start because of a Nissan that crashed at the first corner, both Matech Ford GT1s were blocked in this first corner. But then they quickly continued the race and at the end of the first lap, car no.5 was 16th and car no.6 was 12th. Thanks to overtaking and retirementsfrom other cars, car no.5 was 14th and no.6 was 10th at the end of the lap 9.

At 14h45, Neel Jani pitted to hand over the car to his teammate Nicolas Prost for his first stint in the race with the Matech Ford GT1. Exactly one minute later, Richard Westbrook driving car no.5, stopped for his driver change. Only 25 seconds later, Thomas Mustch pushed the throttle and won a few positions thanks to the teamwork! But only a few seconds after the driver change, rain returned to the track and all competitors had to come back to the pit to change to wet tyres.

Both Matech Ford GT1 drivers started a great stint : Thomas Mutsch went from p11 to p6 before crossing the finish line, while Nicolas Prost, for his first time in a race with the Matech Ford GT1, also did a great job finishing in p8 from starting in p13.

The Championship race will start on Sunday August 29th at 15h15 (local time), and Matech Ford GT1 no.5 will start on p6 and no.6 on p8.

Ford GT1 Matech no.5
Thomas Mutsch : "First of all I want to thank the team...very very good job, two pit stops. Also Richard did an amazing stint coming so far from the back and giving me the car in p11. Then luckily we had some rain and our car is very good on the rain so I could continue going to the front and I'm very glad to finish 6th from p22."

Richard Westbrook : "From 22nd place to 6th place, it's incredible...I can't believe it. I had a really bad start, I was going around the inside of a Nissan who had a puncture and he didn't see me and put me in the gravel, a long, long way back. But the car during the race was incredible, we could get back all the time we had lost and I think Thomas came out in p11 to p6, also thanks to a great stop of the guys. Then in the end it was wet, then it was dry, Thomas did a great job and if you had told us before we were gonna come 6th we would said "definitely we take it!". So we are happy !"

Ford GT1 Matech no.6
Neel Jani : "I had a good start but I was on the outside at p5 or 6, I overtook good cars, and then all the cars came flying on the inside! So I went on the outside, and over the gravel to avoid them and come back. I was really lucky I didn't get hit even if I touched with 2 or 3 cars. I was unhappy to lose positions but was really happy I didn't get hit. At the beginning the car was understeering a bit, but then our car was very good and just went quicker and quicker. Overtaking is difficult because we are slow on the straight. If you are behind the Nissan and even if you are 1 or 2 seconds a lap quicker than him, they were so quick on the straight and it almost impossible to overtake without risking a crash. Good job also by Nicolas with the tricky conditions to get p8. So for tomorrow we will try to get on the podium with the other Matech car !"

Nicolas Prost : "It was hard for my first race to start my stint with slick tyres as it started raining, but then we quickly put the wet tyres on. We didn't make a great driver change with Neel, but we will get it perfect. It was not easy to fight with others guys with slick tyres under the rain but then the rhythm was reasonable and we had to finish the race and we are quite well positioned for tomorrow !"

-source: matech-competition.ch

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Neel Jani , Richard Westbrook , Nicolas Prost , Thomas Mutsch
Teams Nissan Motorsports