Leinders-Kuppens 10th with the Ford GT
The 2009 FIA-GT championship started this Bank Holiday weekend in Silverstone. For the MARC VDS Racing Team it was the first race with their new Ford GT. The GT1-version of this car was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Matech team and in the capable hands of Bas Leinders and Renaud Kuppens. The Belgian duo eventually finished in 10th place, not far behind the sister car of Thomas Mutsch en Thomas Biagi.
"A positive first weekend, even though we could have taken the single point for 8th place", Bas Leinders stated after the race. "The race did not start very well, since we were immediately penalised with a stop&go, for refuelling on the start grid."
The Belgian ace quickly dropped down the field, but at the first pitstop, when he passed the car to team mate Renaud Kuppens, Leinders was already 12th.
"We had a good rhythm, the car worked perfectly", Leinders added. "Unfortunately the safety car came out and Renaud got stuck behind the only GT3-car of the entire field, a car which was even slower than the safety car! So when the race restarted, there was a gap of 50 seconds towards the car of Mutsch and Biagi. It was impossible to close that gap and take the first place among the 2010-cars. But, as I already mentioned, a tenth spot and a trouble-free race is an encouraging start to the season."
Leinders had qualified the Ford GT in tenth place, as the quickest of the 2010-car. "We had a great free practice", Leinders says. "But during qualifying I was surprised by the grip level of the car. I had never driven on brand-new Michelins before, and the grip level was much higher than I expected. I set my fastest time in my third lap, when the tyres were no longer in optimal condition. So if I had used them properly earlier on, I could have set an even quicker time."
That is something to look forward to at the next round of the FIA-GT championship, on 15th and 16th May in Adria (Italy).