Fuel stops Aston, Rossi scores Podium in WSR Megane at Donington
ZOLDER. Notwithstanding the retirement of the Aston Martin DBRS9 GT3 in the early hours Racing For Belgium can be reasonably satisfied with the recent 24 Hours of Zolder. The beautiful British GT experienced few problems, retained a place in the top-10, but a safety issue led to their retirement before the end of the race. "In Zolder you have to refuel in the same way as with the touring cars and adapting the fuel filler necks to this system had already caused us worries before the race. Fuel was seeping into the car via the filler neck and as the race progressed the problem became worse. For safety reasons we therefore decided to retire from the race", Ron Marchal told us on Sunday morning. "Nonetheless RFB with their Aston performed well, especially since this is the first 24 Hours race for the Aston GT3."
The Belgo-Dut(ch team Marchal-den Otter-Coekelbergs-Sterckx started off the 24 Hours weekend in a sensible way. During qualifying they concentrated on the car's set-up and the newcomers were given the opportunity to get to grips with the fast GT3. "For us qualifying in itself isn't a target", Coekelbergs explained. "We want to score during the weekend and taking into consideration the complete lack of relevant data and experience with most of the GT3s caution will be the order of the day. But with the 007 we're .in seventh place on the grid and that's a reasonable result."
David Sterckx took the start and settled down in the top -10, "but we're going to take on a waiting game. In addition our consumption is pretty high and we are therefore loosing a fair amount of extra time as compared to the Porsches. But wait and see", Sterckx commented after his stint. The Aston grabbed a few points after six hours and in the meanwhile den Otter had also got to know the Aston.
Robert den Otter: "I can't understand why you Belgians complain so much about Belcar and the 24 Hours. This is really a great race, where everything is possible. The cars, and especially our Aston, are brilliant and you need to give this formula a chance, because it does work. I have competed in the 24 Hours in the past and this is the greatest edition in years."
Unfortunately in the meanwhile the problem with the fuel had reared its head and "it's getting worse and worse", Marchal shakes his head. "The fuel is now also affecting the plastic at the rear and there is permanently fuel inside the car. Wim has just had a small short and something like this could have serious consequences. I fear that we need to be sensible and call it a day. A pity that something like this should stop us, race cars have safe and homologated fuel cell systems, and then you are asked to replace these with.unsafe systems."
So Racing For Belgium didn't see the chequered flag, but the DBRS9 didn't experience the slightest defect and proved that it can also take on long distance work.
In the meanwhile Frenchman Michael Rossi had taken care of providing a few smiles in the RFB camp. With his Megane Trophy he had clinched an excellent third place in the first heat of the WSR Megane Trophy at the Donington circuit. Unfortunately bad luck stopped both himself and also Carlo van Dam from repeating this great result on the Sunday. Rossi is presently in ninth place in the overall rankings.
RFB's following assignments are the WTCC and WSR races in two weeks time, respectively at Brands-Hatch and Magny-Cours.