MARC VDS FORD GT1 AT PORTIMAO The Portuguese track of Portimao is the setting for the seventh round of the FIA GT1 World Championship. The Fords GT of Leinders-Martin and Palttala-Kuppens will try to live up to expectations. The Portimao track...
MARC VDS FORD GT1 AT PORTIMAO
The Portuguese track of Portimao is the setting for the seventh round of the FIA GT1 World Championship. The Fords GT of Leinders-Martin and Palttala-Kuppens will try to live up to expectations.
The Portimao track is situated in the centre of the Algarve, also known as 'the garden of Portugal'. In this time of year an ideal location for the seventh round of the FIA GT1 World Championship. The Fords GT of the Marc VDS Racing Team will try to forget the bad luck to which they fell victim during the last round at the Nurburgring. "The Portimao track is a very interesting track, with three blind corners and quite a technical lay-out. Despite the fact that the asphalt is a bit bumpy, this track should suit the Ford better than the previous two we went two (Spa and Nurburgring, ed.)", Bas Leinders analyses.
For this race the Ford #40 and #41 will have slightly more power at their disposal, thanks to a minor change to the air restrictor, which has been increased by... 1 millimetre. "The FIA was willing to allow an even bigger change, but that would not have made any difference to our small block", team manager Jean-Michel Delporte explains. "However, this minor adjustment is accompanied by an increase of the weight of the car by 12 kg, so it's not like we will be running circles around the opposition from now on. But since at this level everything is so close together, every little detail matters."
Especially since during the previous meetings the whole team was very much aware that not much improvement is needed to be among the frontrunners. "We still have a disadvantage powerwise and in the accelerations", Renaud Kuppens explains. "In the curvy bits we easily close on the other cars, but when they accelerate, it is very hard to stay close enough to be able to launch an attack. Very frustrating..."
Still, last year Leinders and Kuppens made good impression on this track. "True, but then it was a two hours' race", Leinders recalls. "We suffered a lot less than the other cars of tyre degradation, which was in our favour during the second hour of the race. But this year, the races only last one hour..."
Everybody agrees that the cars with the best set-up and balance will dominate on the Portuguese track. "This will be our third weekend with our own engineer. We go from strength to strength and I hope that Markus (Palttala, ed.) and I finally can get the result we know we can achieve and finish somewhere between 7th and 10th", Renaud Kuppens concludes.
Even though a lot of close racing is expected, Bas Leinders hopes it will not be too close. "For once, I wish that our cars do not suffer from wild behaviour of some of the other drivers, like we did in Spa, for instance", Leinders states. "These are great races because there are a lot of great drivers, but there are also a couple of drivers that are not so great, and I hope things do not get out of hand..."
Let's hope that everybody in FIA GT1 shares this opinion, an FIA GT1 championship that stays in Europe for the next race as well. On the 25th of October the next round will be held on the new Spanish track of Navarra, since the South-African round in Durban has been cancelled.
-source: marc vds