Monza: Van Merksteijn Motorsport race report

Second place for Van Merksteijn Motorsport after great recovery in Monza MONZA. A great recovery resulted into second place for the team Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur in the second season round of the Le Mans Series at the...

Second place for Van Merksteijn Motorsport after great recovery in Monza

MONZA. A great recovery resulted into second place for the team Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur in the second season round of the Le Mans Series at the circuit of Monza. Jos Verstappen and Peter van Merksteijn, who started from pole position in the LMP2 class and led the class for the first 90 minutes without any problems, lost some laps after an opponent from the slower GT2-class hit the team's Porsche RS Spyder from the rear. After the repair, Verstappen and Van Mekrsteijn made up one place after another and eventually were rewarded with second place.

Jos Verstappen, who set the fastest lap time in the LMP2 class in yesterday's qualifying, was the first to drive the car after the start. As the race got underway, he immediately took the lead in his class and managed to build up a little margin, although the opposition was never far away. "Apart from some understeer and bad visibility because the rear-view mirrors were covered in oil from another car, I didn't have any problems during the opening stage",

Verstappen reported afterwards. He drove two stints with one set of tyres, so that the pit stop was only necessary for refuelling. Just before Verstappen was due to come in after 56 laps to hand over the steering wheel to his team-mate, Peter van Merksteijn, fate struck: a driver with a car from the considerably slower GT2 category hit the rear of Verstappen's Porsche, so that the fixation of the underfloor and the bodywork on the right rear of the car was damaged.

One lap later, Verstappen came in to have the damage repaired. In a little less than five minutes, the rear underfloor of the car was replaced, but the three laps that were lost during the repair made the team drop back to tenth place in class. Verstappen was visibly disappointed: "A stupid and absolutely unnecessary move!"

Peter van Merksteijn, who had taken up the driving duties after the repair, drove as well as he could and made the car gradually move up the order in the standings. As a result, the Dutch team was already up in sixth place in its category after 122 laps, when Jos Verstappen returned behind the wheel for the final part of the race.

"The handling of the car is great, so fortunately, the collision didn't cause any lasting damage. The only problem I had was quite considerable understeer, but for the rest, it was all right. Driving two stints with one set of tyres didn't cause any problems either, the tyres lasted very well", said Peter Van Merksteijn about his experience on the track.

Verstappen drove the car for the last fifty laps and brought the car home second in class. "After the collision, I didn't expect that we would still make it onto the podium, but today, the Porsche once again proved its strength and we have all been working very hard to achieve this result", Verstappen said.

The next round of the Le Mans Series will take place at the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, May 11th.

-credit: vm motorsport

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Series ELMS