Definitely not traditional Italian weather but there were 34 cars on the grid; these were the main ingredients for the second round of the season. On the legendary Autodromo di Monza, within close proximity of Milan, the FIA GT-caravan had set up...
Definitely not traditional Italian weather but there were 34 cars on the grid; these were the main ingredients for the second round of the season. On the legendary Autodromo di Monza, within close proximity of Milan, the FIA GT-caravan had set up its camp. Each year this highly fast circuit offers up an exciting race and so it was to be this year also. For Jos Menten the Italian adventure ended after seven laps with a retirement.
The free practice sessions were not very promising for the driver from Haelen and the iPOS Racing team. Poor weather conditions made it difficult for the drivers: "The car wasn't entirely ready resulting in us only completing a few laps in practice. We now know that the gear ratios are far too close. Whether it stays wet or dries out tomorrow . we won't be up front that's for sure. The difference in top speed at the end of the straight is far too big", Jos Menten remarked. Menten and his Italian team mate Andrea Piccini finished the first free practice in 30th place.
The pre-qualifying did not bring any solace either: "With all the strong competition we can forget about finishing in the points. Unless of course fate plays a part and we grab a point. Even in the rain there's a two good seconds difference with the competition. You can't make that up on the track. We need to be honest. This Saleen is not the best battle weapon, but we'll have to make do with what we have. The other Saleen teams are also finding it hard going", the Dutchman commented, finishing the session in 21st place.
It was as though the devil was playing a game, as during the qualifying sessions the weather conditions were exactly the same as those experienced at Silverstone. The G2- and GT2-cars enjoyed a reasonably dry track, just before the heavens opened up once more. On a damp track the GT1-runners lose a fair amount of time. Andrea Piccini cannot achieve better than a 25th time, slotting the car on to the thirteenth row of the grid.
Heavy rain continues on the Sunday morning, and the iPOS Racing team management decide to keep the Saleen S7-R in the pits: "The team opted not to take any risks and we'll hold to that decision. Hopefully it might dry out a bit later, because this is no fun ."
Menten's prayers are heard, because one hour before the start of the race the rain holds off. Andrea Piccini takes the start at 13.15hrs, but the Italian doesn't travel very far. After seven laps the Italian, driving on home ground, brings the car into the iPOS Racing team pits with engine problems. A highly disappointing weekend for Jos Menten, unable to complete a single meter on the track. The power beast sporting the magical number 13 didn't bring the 27 year young driver from Limburg any luck: "The engine temperature kept on rising. We still do not know exactly what is causing it, but there was no point is continuing with the race. I'm now going to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This will be the high point of my season."
-credit: jos menten