MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AT FIA GT FINALE
Bad Luck Keeps Lieb And Basseng From Potential GT2 Podium
ProSpeed Competition had a very competitive weekend during the FIA GT Championship finale at Zolder, today. While the final results sheet might not show it, the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR accomplished the mission the team was asked to do, namely to run in support of the BMS Scuderia Italia Porsche of Emmanuel Collard and Matteo Manucelli, both drivers starting the weekend with an outside chance at the GT2 title.
"We were asked to test and evaluate the tyres for Manu and Matteo and help them in making a choice for this track, so we were loaned two factory drivers and Pirelli tyres," team boss Rudi Penders explained. "After free practice, Marc Lieb thought the soft option was the better one, while Manu went for the mediums, but Marc Basseng's qualifying time showed Lieb was probably right."
Unfortunately, Marc Lieb was hampered by a bout of flue so Marc Basseng who won the Belcar finale race here last year with ProSpeed Competition qualified the car. For the race, Basseng and Lieb could drive their own race, and then see how it developed for Collard and Manucelli.
While Basseng had no trouble staying with the GT2 leaders, it was like at the Spa 24 Hours a ball of rubber that prematurely decided the outcome of ProSpeed Competition's race. "The car was handling absolutely beautifully," Basseng said, "then I picked up a ball of rubber on the front left tyre which damaged the radiator, so I had to come in."
"As at Spa, a blob of rubber got caught on the left front wheel and destroyed the inner fender," Penders explained. "This damaged the bleed valve of the radiator, so we had to fix that and lost almost two laps in the process."
"From then on we just raced as hard as we could to amass some additional data," Lieb continued. "There was no way could still help the others, but we showed we had the speed throughout the race as the deficit at the finish was exactly what we had lost in the puts in repairs. It's a pity because it looked really good for us."
"Overall, I think we can be happy," Penders concluded. "We accomplished all the tasks we were asked to do, and we showed that with the two Marcs we were as fast as the other Pirelli-shod Porsche. Now we can start preparing our next international outing: the 2008 Dubai 24 Hours in January."