Van Merksteijn Motorsport Thursday qualifying report

Van Merksteijn Motorsport to start from pole position in Le Mans LE MANS - Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter van Merksteijn and Jos Verstappen will be starting from pole position in the LMP2 class for the 76th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. In ...

Van Merksteijn Motorsport to start from pole position in Le Mans

LE MANS - Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter van Merksteijn and Jos Verstappen will be starting from pole position in the LMP2 class for the 76th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. In Thursday's qualifying for the classic French endurance race, Jos Verstappen took the Porsche RS Spyder of the team Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur to a fastest lap time of 3.32.301 minutes at the 13.629 kilometres long circuit. That was enough to claim the best starting grid position in class.

As usual in Le Mans, qualifying was split up into sessions on Wednesday and Thursday evening with four hours of practice time each. On Wednesday evening, the Dutch Porsche team concluded qualifying second in class and 13th overall with Verstappen's lap time of 3.34.078 minutes. All drivers completed their laps without any major problems. Only Jos Verstappen once suffered from a puncture on the left rear tyre following a collision with a car from the slower GT2-class. Because this happened just ahead of the pitlane entry, Verstappen was able to come in for a tyre change right away without losing too much time. Qualifying on Wednesday evening had to be interrupted twice after drivers had come off the track with their cars. After the second red-flag, shortly before midnight with approximately ten minutes remaining, the clerk of the course decided not to re-start the session.

On Thursday evening, Jos Verstappen managed to improve his own lap time first to 3.33.192 minutes and then even to 3.32.301, after the team had changed the engine to be completely on the safe side and to avoid any unnecessary risks for the race. That was also sufficient to claim the best grid position in class. "It went very smoothly. Yesterday, I knew that I could do better and today, I did", Verstappen said. "The car is getting better every time we go out and I get to learn the track better all the time as well. My fastest lap wasn't perfect as I lost some time in traffic twice. Thanks also to the mechanics who have greatly contributed to this achievement with their quick and perfect work during the engine change." Team owner, Peter van Merksteijn said: "This is what we had hoped for, but it is great that we have actually pulled it off! A great performance for our team. Thanks to Porsche for a perfect car, to Michelin for outstanding tyres and to all team members for their effort." Jeroen Bleekemolen, who has his maiden race with the Porsche RS Spyder at Le Mans this weekend, said: "After I only could do four laps in the rain in testing a fortnight ago, I have now got quite some experience with the RS SPyder. The car is going really well, that is giving me a lot of confidence for the race."

Friday is traditionally the day of the drivers' parade in the city centre of Le Mans from 18.00 till 20.00 hours. On Saturday, the action starts with warm-up from 9.00 till 9.45 hours, followed by the start of the race on Saturday at 15.00 hours.

-credit: vm-motorsport.nl

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Peter van Merksteijn