Autumn has arrived in Belgium. All the competitors in the FIA GT Championship will need to brave the cold Limburg climate. The Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT, with its southern temperament can't fully handle these cold conditions.
Autumn has arrived in Belgium. All the competitors in the FIA GT Championship will need to brave the cold Limburg climate. The Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT, with its southern temperament can't fully handle these cold conditions. During the first free practice Jos Menten and Peter Kox have trouble trying to get their tyres up to temperature: "Typical Belgian weather, and our Lambo doesn't really like it .", Menten commented after the first free practice - during which the black-orange Lamborghini finished in thirteenth place. "To be honest it was really a reference time. Things will improve later on."
Jos Menten takes the start of the second free practice session. The track starts to warm up, and in the third lap the Dutchman sets up a competitive time in the V12: "A good lap time. Unfortunately I had to cut my stint short because my left rear tyre was deflating", the 26 year old Dutchman continued. The cause of the damaged tyre is soon discovered and Peter Kox takes to the track on fresh rubber. Kox sets strong sector times . but the driver from Eindhoven keeps calm. The Lamborghini-duo finished the second session ninth (1:28,338). "It's looking good. The car is up to expectations, but we prefer to save the tyres for qualifying and the race", are the comments emerging from the HD GIGAWAVE Reiter Engineering pit box.
However Jos Menten can't get the best out of the car during qualifying. The driver from Haelen has to be happy with a tenth place, putting them on the fifth row of the grid: "There was definitely more potential there. As compared to the second free practice I hardly had any grip. Strangely enough I set my fastest time during my second lap. Starting from the fifth row is no great disaster, no-one has gone overboard yet."
Notwithstanding the cool conditions the ideal set-up for the raging bull from Sant'Agata is sorted out on Sunday morning during the warm-up: "The brake balance wasn't 100% yesterday and that cost me valuable time", Menten told us. "We have now sorted out all those problems and we're ready to end the season on a high."
At 13.15hrs Karl Wendlinger leads off the pack. Jos Menten takes the start in the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT. The Dutchman promptly gains two places. Hans Reiter has worked out an alternative strategy for Menten, and it seems to be working: "I was quickly caught up behind one of the cars ahead of me. I was obviously faster, but it is difficult to overtake here. This is why Hans Reiter decided to call me in earlier than scheduled for the first pitstop", the Limburger commented. After some twenty minutes Peter Kox takes over the wheel. He systematically climbs up the rankings. When all teams have completed their initial pitstop the Dutch duo are in fact in second place; a brilliant performance!
With some forty five minutes left Kox dives into the pitlane for the second - and last - compulsory pitstop. But during refuelling several seconds are lost, and these prove to be costly: "This resulted in two competitors breathing down my neck. I was still on cold tyres, and couldn't hold them off. With our sixth place we have once again scored three points, bringing it to a total of eleven. We didn't have the fastest, but probably the most constant cars on the track today. Even on fully worn tyres we were still able to keep up with the leading group", the Dutchman comments as he looks back on the last race weekend of the season.
"During this coming winter we're going to focus hard on the year 2008. Hopefully we can carry our positive trend on through to the coming year."