Paul Ricard: Marc VDS race report

FANTASTIC FOURTH FOR MARC VDS AT LE CASTELLET Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin conquered a fantastic fourth place in the fourth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship on the French track of Le Castellet. It had been clear since the beginning of...

FANTASTIC FOURTH FOR MARC VDS AT LE CASTELLET

Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin conquered a fantastic fourth place in the fourth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship on the French track of Le Castellet. It had been clear since the beginning of the season that the Ford GT has enormous potential, but after quite some bad luck this potential was now converted in a great result. Just in time for the Belgian round of the world championship, in a few weeks' time in Spa.

A intelligent tactical choice during the qualifying race laid the foundations for this excellent result. For it was hot in Le Castellet this weekend, very hot. There was a temperature of 35o. C, the asphalt was even way beyond 50o. C.

"That made tyre degradation key this weekend, even more so than usual", Bas Leinders explains. "That's why we chose to drive the second half of the qualifying race on used tyres, which left us with two brand new sets for the championship race. A puncture at the end of the qualifying race made our situation even a bit worse, but even a 20th place on the grid could not really worry us."

Because the tactical plan bore fruit in the main event of the meeting. Leinders quickly put the Ford GT inside the top-10, virtually in a points' scoring position.

"I could even have been quicker ", the Belgian stated after his stint. "But I was held up by an Aston Martin that was quick on the straights, but almost at a standstill in the corners. We must have lost some ten seconds."

But Maxime Martin still managed to gain some places in the second half of the race and was even fighting for 5th spot: "I was quicker than Margaritis in the Maserati, but when we caught the slowing car of Thomas Mutsch he managed to pass it just a bit quicker. That's why I lost contact and could no longer threaten him when he was in third. Still, we are very happy with this magnificent fourth place."

"Just in time", Bas Leinders smiled. "We knew the car had a lot of potential, we now managed to put into a great result. That's a real boost just before the Belgian round of the world championship, in a few weeks' time in Spa, during the weekend of the 24 hours-race."

The other Ford GT of the Marc VDS Racing Team was performing well as well in the south of France, but a 14th place was not really a fitting reward for Renaud Kuppens and Markus Palttala.

"We made the same tactical choices as Bas and Maxime", the Finn explains. "And Renaud made a great start in the championship race. But then he was hit by the car of Olivier Panis, which damaged our steering rack. It was very difficult to finish the race with a car that was slightly driving sideways, but we still managed it. The most important thing to remember from this French round is that we made progress all through the weekend. We are completely ready for Spa now, and I am sure we can do well there."

-source: marc vds

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Olivier Panis , Bas Leinders , Markus Palttala , Renaud Kuppens , Maxime Martin
Teams Marc VDS Racing