The silver medal in the fifth FIA GT race in Paul Ricard didn't bring Jos Menten any luck this week. This past weekend, 'The Flying Dutchman' combined the 1000 km. from Donington with the Euphony 24 Hours of Zolder. Like always, Menten started the Le Mans Series off with the Corvette C6-R from PSI Experience. The Corvette is a car he shares with Markus Palttala and Pertti Kuismanen, both Finnish drivers. For the 24 Hours of Zolder Race, the Dutchman put his faith in a Porsche 996 GT3 RSR. Menten shares the car with Fred Bouvy, Jean-Philippe Belloc and Tim Verbergt. Both the Porsche and the Corvette couldn't take full advantage of the Michelin tires. Too bad the French rubber didn't bring Jos Menten any luck .
Free practice and qualifying for the 24 Hours of Zolder
PSI experience didn't make it through the free practice and the official night qualification on Wednesday without a few problems. The Thimister- Clermont team had a dysfunctional roll bar which meant that the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR didn't make it any further than sixth place. The team decided not to take any risks and had the roll bar replaced prior to Thursday's second qualification session. Although their start position was in the third row, the team was happy with the performance of the drivers. Start positions are not that important in a 24 hour race.
Free practice and qualifying for the 1000 km Donington
In Donington, PSI Experience was out there doing well right from the first free practice. Markus Palttala and Pertti Kuismanen took care of the setup and in the qualification session Palttala managed to get the third fastest time in the GT1. This gave PSI a fantastic start position in the Sunday race!
24 Hours of Zolder - The Race
Jos Menten started the race with the PSI Experience Porsche 996 GT3 RSR. The young Limburger took off and managed to get into the fifth position. A few laps later, the car slipped back in the standings after a collision with the AD Sport Porsche 996 Biturbo (#8): "I was right behind the BMW 120d, who was in trouble. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a crash with the BMW. I went left and, in doing so, hit the AD Sport Porsche. We didn't know if our car had been damaged so we stopped for a check up in the pit."
Menten and his team members began the catch-up race and even managed to get into the sixth place but then things really went wrong. "For the first time in the race we had problems with the gearbox and we were stuck in the pit for a long time. The team eventually managed to fix the problem but we had already fallen out of the running for the top twenty", said the disappointed Jos Menten. But the driver from Haelen doesn't give up easy.
Menten and company got back into the catch-up race. Step by step, the PSI Experience Porsche 996 GT3 RSR climbed it's way back up in the standings but that night, the gearbox was causing problems again. a problem that would impact the rest of the race: "The second time we had problems with the gearbox, we knew that luck wasn't on our side. Last weekend, almost everything went perfect and this weekend, everything went wrong", said Menten after the race. PSI ended a very difficult 24 Hours of Zolder in twentieth place.
1000 km. Donington - The Race
In Donington, Pertti Kuismanen's started but, right at the beginning, things went wrong. Kuismanen went off the circuit with Corvette C6-R and the car took a beating. The team needed four laps to get the Corvette C6-R up and running again. After an hour in the race, Palttala took over from Kuismanen. At that point, the PSI car was in sixth place in the LMGT1 class. After Palttala, it was Jos Menten's turn to take over the wheel of the Corvette C6-R: "I pulled off consistent lap times and could easily keep up with the speed of those leading the race. I also had some chances to close in the gap between me and the other cars. I managed to climb to the fifth place after the ORECA Saleen fell out of the race."
After Menten, Kuismanen was back behind the wheel of the Corvette C6-R . The Finn was successful in gaining an extra position after the Larbre Competition encountered problems. Palttala took the wheel for the final laps and brought the PSI Experience Corvette C6-R in as fourth in its class and ninth overall. "Of course it's disappointing that we weren't able to score some nice results this weekend....but now we have to prepare ourselves as best as we can for the next race", said Jos Menten after a difficult weekend.