Taking the chequered flag in 2nd place overall at the wheel of the Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 BMW Sports Trophy #25 shared with Andrea Piccini, Yelmer Buurman and Richard Göransson, Maxime Martin more than fulfilled his assignment at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. But over and above this result, there is the manner in which it was achieved.
Quite frankly at ease in an event in which he was only competing for the second time, the young Brussels based driver took the start of the race, remaining up amongst the leaders. He was back at wheel when the rain put in an appearance during the early evening. “I did in fact carry out a double night stint under the wet conditions, Maxime explained.
It allowed me to take the lead and to build up a minute advance on the others. I must say that I was pretty much at ease in these tricky weather conditions … “ If on the one hand Martin managed to prove himself faster than his nearest rivals, by some 30 or 40 seconds per lap …, he admitted that he did not take any unnecessary risks, especially when it came to overtaking. As he had previously shown during the 24 Hours of Spa, when the situation becomes complicated this Belgian driver knows how to produce the difference …
With the rain increasing and the mist opting to join in the party, the Clerk of the Course decided to interrupt the race until the early hours of the following morning… "A wise decision, Martin confimed. Notwithstanding the fact that these conditions pleaded in my favour, the slightest error could result in crashing into the wall. Here we were experiencing aquaplaning at a mere 50 or 60 km/h! And visibility was down to zero! Extremely dangerous…
Seeing the violent rain storm continued throughout the night, it was a question of waiting for a slight improvement in the conditions and dawn before the Restart could be given.
Once more I found myself at the wheel, going from 5th up to 2nd place in the fist braking zone, and then taking the lead in the link section with the Nordschleife. One lap later I had a 20 seconds lead, which I held on to throughout my stint … "
On a drying track the Mercedes cars shod with their Dunlop tyres started to make the difference … “I then took on a double stint through to the finish, and I truly went into the attack, a smiling Maxime commented. During the final pit-stop I was told to go out and attack… even more fiercely! This is when I clocked up my best race lap time in 8’22’’.
Frank Stippler, the second fastest man on the track recorded a lap time of 8’30’! In the dry Maxime was gaining on the Mercedes by some 22 or 23 seconds per lap. This brought the Z4 GT3 #25 up into 2nd place overall. Mission accomplished!
Facts and figures that speak for themselves, and which undoubtedly explains why Maxime Martin has been called upon to join the Thiriet TDS Racing team for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans, entered in the LMP2 class with a Proto Oreca.
“ BMW Motorsport has given me the green light to compete at Le Mans for the third time at the wheel of a Prototype. And I thank them for this. The TDS Racing team won the ELMS round at Imola this last weekend, which proves its potential. Whilst awaiting this upcoming foray in the Sarthe region I’m allowing myself a few days of holiday, prior to taking on the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series on the Silverstone circuit.”
Might the rain, closely associated with Maxime Martin, be at the rendezvous in Her Royal Majesty’s country?