Paul Ricard: Matech Competition qualifying report

The qualifying session had been hard for the Matech Ford GT1 n°5 and n°6. Finding a good balance was difficult on the very demanding track where much care had to be taken with tyres but also to have a strong attack strategy, and in 35 degrees of...

The qualifying session had been hard for the Matech Ford GT1 n°5 and n°6. Finding a good balance was difficult on the very demanding track where much care had to be taken with tyres but also to have a strong attack strategy, and in 35 degrees of heat.

After the qualifying session, the Matech Ford GT1 n°5, driven by Thomas Mutsch started the qualifying race from 15th position. Thanks to a good start and to some quick first laps of the race, Thomas handed over the car to team-mate Romain Grosjean in 10th position. Romain then did everything to move into the top 5, battling up to the last lap against the others, but when the checkered flag ended the race, 7th position was all that was possible for the Swiss team.

The crew of the Ford GT Matech n°6, driven by Natacha Gachnang, joined by Olivier Panis for the French round of the FIA GT1, started from the 14th position. Confidently leading a group of cars but after a few minutes, one car hit her in turn n°4 after a risky overtaking manouevre. She came back to the pit for the scheduled stop and Olivier took over. He knows this track very well because his official Le Mans team is based nearby. After one lap, Olivier had to come back in the pit because of a problem on the bonnet. At the end of this hard race, 18th place was the final result for the Matech Ford GT1 n°6.

For the Championship race, the Matech Ford GT1 n°5 will start from 7th position, on Sunday July 4th at 14h15, and Matech Ford GT1 n°6 from 18th place.

Matech Ford GT1 n°5

Thomas MUTSCH : " We did quite a good job after the problems we had in free practice and qualifying. The race was good, the car was easy to drive and also we saw with the distance that we managed to find a good set up for the tyres, they stayed more constant than the others and I think it was the key today! To finish 7 coming from 15 is really a good result and I'm looking forward to tomorrow !".

Romain GROSJEAN : "We are at the midstream! The car is now well balanced, and I don't know why we were lost during the qualifying, we have to analyse that to improve. The good thing is that now we are back in the game for tomorrow! The car was good and we finished the race in 7th position, which is good result. Tomorrow we have to raise up as we did today!".

Matech Ford GT1 n°6

Natacha GACHNANG : " The beginning of the race was good, I was the first of a group and I was feeling confident. But just after, one of them hit me and I lost a lot of time. I caught up with the other drivers and came back to the pit for our stop. Then Olivier left but after only a lap had to come back because of a bonnet fixing problem. The car has improved but with the small crash and the bonnet problem, we've lost a lot of time and it's really a pity".

Olivier PANIS : " After Natacha had been hit, she done her best to get back close to the others. We were a little bit far away and then we had a bonnet problem so I came back to the pit, but left quickly. The car was better balanced compared to yesterday with old tires. Our lap times during the race are very fast compared to the others drivers. During the qualifying, things weren't perfect, moreover with tyres which are complicated here, too soft. We finished the race which was important and tomorrow will be a new day and we would fight to be back in good position! ".

-source: matech

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Olivier Panis , Natacha Gachnang , Romain Grosjean