The Dörr Motorsport team (DEU) entered new territory competing at the 3.636-km Circuit Paul Armagnac in France at the Easter weekend. They only had a little over a week to set up the two McLarens MP4 12C GT3 for the first event of this new series.
“Not once did we drive on the racetrack with the completely set up cars. It was a big challenge for every member of the team and the drivers, but we coped very well.
In the end, only one McLaren (#16) with the two German drivers Niclas Kentenich and Daniel Keilwitz in the cockpit competed in the race. One of the drivers of the other car was ill and unable to participate.
The team used the two free practice sessions in order to make themselves familiar with the car and the racetrack. Both drivers improved lap by lap. Initially the distance to the lead was more than four seconds.
Daniel Keilwitz demonstrated in the first qualifying that the team was on the right track. Despite the strong competition, he finished his stint in P5, in 1:29.990 seconds and only eight tenths of a second behind the fastest car.
Niclas Kentenich secured P19 in the second qualifying which was dominated by challenging conditions and yellow and red flags. The times set in the two qualifying sessions resulted in the team's start position 19 for the Qualifying Race.
The race started under dry conditions. Keilwitz managed a good start and completed the first lap in P14 which he defended until the driver change. When Kentenich took over from Keilwitz the engine did not start.
A broken cable on the starter resulted in an early retirement from the Qualifying Race right there and then.
It began to rain in time for the start of the Championship Race on Sunday. Considering both the difficult weather conditions throughout the entire race and a set-up which was not ideal the task to gain places was not easy for the duo Kentenich/Keilwitz. Keilwitz finished the one-hour race in P16.
Team Manager Uwe Isert: “I am very happy with the first weekend. The team did a great job. Keep in mind that they have only taken part in the VLN Endurance Racing Championship Nürburgring so far.
Both drivers did a fantastic job as well. Neither had driven a McLaren before or knew the track. It is too bad that the starter broke during the driver change.
The event in Nogaro proved that we are on the right track and do not need to hide as a new team.”
Team Principal Rainer Dörr: “This was a good start into this new series for us. Everybody in the team did their best and we did quite well considering the circumstances.
We showed that we are able to compete in the middle field, which is a great result. We are looking forward to the next event in Zolder in three weeks time.”
The official announcement that the former McLaren Formula 1 driver John Watson (GBR) was to compete for Dörr Motorsport in the McLaren MP4 12C GT3 in Nogaro proved to be an April fool's joke.
The next racing weekend will take place in Zolder (BEL) from 20 – 21 April 2013.