Navarra, Spain - 15 October 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team, with Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders and Markus Palttala in #3, finished fourth in the Blancpain Endurance Series at Navarra with Henri Moser, Nick Catsburg and Bert Longin in #4 12th.
The team initially protested the procedure. The initial protest of the procedure to the stewards was rejected, so the team took the decision to appeal. Results therefore remain provisional until the appeal is handled.
A tough qualifying saw both cars outside of the top ten on the grid. Martin set fifth fastest time but a ten place penalty from the previous round at the Nürburgring meant #3 started 15th and #4 in 12th.
Starting drivers Leinders and Longin both used caution early on, though strong work saw #3 end the stint in the top ten, with #4 not too far behind despite some struggles.
Heavy rain fell at the end of the second hour, and a fast stop from the crew on #3 saw the car emerge in sixth place with a strong chance to progress.
However, the safety car was launched immediately as #3, with Martin, rejoined the race. Though it came in briefly, with conditions worsening it returned to the track for 40 minutes before the race was finally red flagged with five minutes remaining.
Car #3 managed to make two places, but the safety car came at a bad time for #4, forcing them to pit slightly hurriedly. Catsburg was hampered by traffic and finished 12th.
Henri Moser (#4 BMW Z4 GT3): "It was a tough season, but I feel like I learned a massive amount working with this team. I'm really sorry for the whole team because they gave 100% every race and between races, pushing to be at the front.
We had a lot of bad luck and today was a good example with the weather. The car was a very quick package in the rain and we had no chance to show that. It's a bitter taste we all have right now - I just hope we can return next year."
Markus Palttala (#3 BMW Z4 GT3): "For me, this was a magnificent season. The first half was almost perfect with the victories, and though we had little problems in the second half of the season we still fought hard until the end.
The work the team put in was incredible and it showed, especially with the second pitstop today. With so much pressure on this last pitstop, they did a superb job and the stop was perfect.
With Max behind the wheel for 45 minutes in the rain, I think we would have been strong. I have to pay tribute, too, to Marc van der Straten for continuing to show the passion he does and to support us."
Bas Leinders, Team Principal: "We would have wished that the championship finished in a sporting way, which means everyone abides by the rules. We feel this is not the case in this particlular race.
Obviously, it was not an easy decision to make an appeal, because this is not within the spirit of either the Marc VDS Racing Team or the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Source: Marc VDS Racing Team