Nürburgring, Germany: The Marc VDS Racing Team claimed the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro Cup Teams' title at the final round of the championship in Germany.
A second place finish in the Blancpain 1000 for Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders and Yelmer Buurman in the #3 BMW Z4 GT3 earned the team its first ever championship title. The #4 car with Henri Moser, Markus Palttala and Nick Catsburg ended sixth in the Pro class.
The two cars actually ran together for much of the race, working their way through the field. Thanks to excellent pitwork and good, consistent pace, they found themselves running second and third behind the Mercedes that swept away at the beginning of the race.
As the race wore on, brakes became the story. #4, with Nick Catsburg aboard, suffered a small issue with the front brake and the resulting pitwork dropped them out of contention for a podium. Shortly afterward, the leading car also needed brake work, a stop that put Maxime Martin in #3 ahead by the narrowest of margins. However, he couldn't hold the Mercedes - with fresh brakes - behind until the finish and had to settle for second place.
That result, however, was enough to seal the title for teams. It also meant that Yelmer Buurman, Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin finished third in the Pro Cup Drivers' standings.
Markus Palttala, #4 BMW Z4 GT3: "I have been with this team for four years, and to be here and be a part of winning this title feels awesome. We've won races every year I have been a part of this team, but this was the first title. Of course, drivers always concentrate on their own title, but I appreciate the team championship even more, because it's for everybody.
The story of the Marc VDS Racing Team is of four years of constant improvement and progress. From nothing we've risen to be one of the best teams in GT racing. This feeling is a crown on that. It's a reward for everyone in this team, who've been there since the beginning or joined recently. I'm really happy."
Maxime Martin, #3 BMW Z4 GT3: "I think we have a good story here, to be the Blancpain Endurance Series Team champion. Last year we lost two championships in the very last race in such frustrating circumstances but now this team is the best in Europe. It's a very good result for the whole team. It shows the performance of all the guys, both cars, throughout the season.
It's a very important championship and now we have won. Of course I'm a little disappointed we are not the drivers' champions as well but still, this is a championship trophy! I have to thank Marc van der Straten for giving me the chance to race with this team and for his passion and support. It's a great result."
Bas Leinders, Team Principal: "I'm extremely happy - especially for Marc van der Straten, for his team to be the best in the Blancpain Endurance Series. It's a prize that matches his passion! We can call ourselves champions now - this is a first for the Marc VDS Racing Team.
It's great for all the team. Every member of this team worked so hard, did a great job, and this championship is theirs. To have a fantastic, clean race to end the season - with such an amazing final hour, and a battle for the title on track - is a great way to finish. I'm overjoyed."
Marc VDS Racing