Portimao: Marc VDS race report

LEINDERS-MARTIN FIFTH AT PORTIMAO During the 7th round of the FIA GT1 World Championship on the Portuguese track of Portimao Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin drove their Ford GT of the Marc VDS Racing Team to a wonderful fifth place. The other car...

LEINDERS-MARTIN FIFTH AT PORTIMAO

During the 7th round of the FIA GT1 World Championship on the Portuguese track of Portimao Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin drove their Ford GT of the Marc VDS Racing Team to a wonderful fifth place. The other car of the Belgian team, driven by Kuppens-Palttala finished in 15th.

What a comeback! Under a sweltering Portuguese sun the Ford GT #40 of Maxime Martin and Bas Leinders, which started the race in a lowly 21st place, conquered fifth in the end. "It started great, because in the first lap I managed to gain eight places!", Maxime Martin cheered. "After that I passed another two cars, passing the steering wheel in 11th. The team worked great during the pitstop, because we gained another two places and Bas could start his stint in 9th."

And it still was not finished: during the second half of the race Leinders took the scalp of another four drivers, to eventually finish in fifth spot. "A great result, very close to our best ever, 4th in Le Castellet at the beginning of July. During qualifying we had already shown our speed and in the race too our rhythm was quicker than the leading cars", Leinders stated. "Unfortunately we were left a bit frustrated, because this could have ended a lot better..."

And that's an understatement. Even though the Ford GT1 of Martin-Leinders finished on a high note, after qualifying things looked very bad, since the stewards had put the Ford GT #40 from the first to the last row on the starting grid for the qualifying race. "During a technical check the airbox cracked", Leinders explains. "That airbox had been modified by Matech, the constructor of the car, because for this meeting we were allowed to use another air intake, larger by one millimeter. Because the crack caused another air flow, the airbox failed the test and our times were scrapped. We were put back on the last row of the grid. I took the start, was hit by another car and during his stint, there was contact between Maxime and Wendlinger's car, which caused our retirement. We were classified as 21st, our place on the grid for the championship race. You know what happened next..."

The frustration on the other car of the team was at least as big: a broken shock absorber had resulted in a 19th place in the qualifying race. "And in the championship race I was hit again by another car, in the first corner", Markus Palttala explains. "It took a while before the engine had fired up again, so I lost a lot of time. Eventually we finished in 15th, but our car can do a lot better than that. Whole weekend long we kept improving, thanks to a great collaboration with our engineer. For now that does not translate into results, though. Very frustrating, yes indeed."

-source: marc vds

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Bas Leinders , Markus Palttala , Maxime Martin
Teams Marc VDS Racing