"There was a chance of a nice ending of the season", Jos Menten summed up the closing of the Le Mans Series season. After two difficult weekends in Germany and Great Britain, PSI Experience has failed to complete a strong race with a place on the Spanish podium. Jos Menten, Markus Palttala and Pertti Kuismanen have concluded the LMS season with the fourth place in the LMGT1 category.
The free practices on Friday afternoon had started under a cloudy sky. Immediately in the first free practice, PSI Experience was alert. The Corvette C6-R ran the second fastest time in the LMGT1 category (1:31,076). Also in the second free practice, everything went as planned. Menten and co were able to improve the set-up of the Corvette C6-R, with an eye to the six-hour race on Sunday. Just like in the first training, Menten clocked the second time with the Corvette (1:30,603).
On Saturday, the team had dedicated the last free practice to the preparation for the qualifications, which Jos Menten accounted for. The 'Flying Dutchman' steered the Corvette C6-R to the third place in the LMGT1 category, good enough for the ninth starting position (1:29,099): "Today we have tried a different set-up, but that hasn't paid off in better lap times. Then we have decided to return to Friday's set-up. Eventually, I had to yield only three-tenths to Ortelli's pole time", said a satisfied Jos Menten after the qualification session.
On Sunday at 12.00 hrs, Jos Menten took the start and immediately managed to win a position. The driver from Haelen was even in the lead for a while: "Immediately at the start, I was able to overtake Team Modena's Aston Martin DBR-9. Soon after, I was able to take the lead when I passed by Stephane Ortelli (ORECA - Saleen S7-R). However, halfway the first hour in the race, he came on strong. We decided to take no risks and let him pass, considering the condition of the soft Michelin tires", said Menten after his first stint, in which he recorded the fastest lap time in LMGT1. In the stints of his Finnish team members, the Corvette C6-R had dropped back to fourth position. After three hours and fifteen minutes in the race, Menten took the wheel of the Corvette C6-R again. Immediately, the Dutchman was in the right rhythm and was able to close the gap with Team Modena's Aston Martin DBR-9: "Straight away, I was able to make up time on the cars in front of me. The Michelin tires enabled me to record faster lap times during the stint. In the end, I was even able to get close to Larbre Competition's Aston Martin", said Menten. When Gardel hit the pit, the Limburger was driving around in second position in LMGT1, in eighth overall.
Not much later, Jos Menten had to hit the pit for gas and fresh rubber. The Corvette C6-R dropped back into fourth position. Aggressively, Menten hunted for his second podium place in the Le Mans Series. The great handling of the Corvette C6-R enabled him to rise to third position in LMGT1. Fifty minutes before the end of the race, the Dutchman hit the pit, during the second neutralization of the Safety-Car. Pertti Kuismanen took care of the last stint. 45 minutes before the end of the race, the Finn lost the third position to Team Modena's Aston Martin DBR-9. Kuismanen took the PSI Experience Corvette C6-R over the finish as fourth in LMGT1, as tenth overall. "The car was terrific today! The team has done a great job and Michelin has brought us fantastic tires. It's a pity Pertti lost the third position to Team Modena in the last hour. There was more in the making", said a disappointed Jos Menten, who has left his visiting card in the international arena again.
-credit: Jos Menten Racing