Marc VDS look to consolidate championship lead at the Nürburgring

Gosselies, Belgium - 19 September 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team head to the penultimate round of the Blancpain Endurance series at the Nürburgring this weekend, determined to extend their lead at the top of the team and driver championship standings.

Two race wins for the #3 BMW Z4 GT3 at the start of the season, with consistent results since, means that Maxime Martin, Markus Palttala and Bas Leinders currently top the driver's championship table. The Marc VDS trio have a 15-point advantage over WRT Audi's Stéphane Ortelli, Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies, who are joint second in the standings.

#3 Marc VDS Racing Team BMW Z4 GT3: Markus Palttala, Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin
#3 Marc VDS Racing Team BMW Z4 GT3: Markus Palttala, Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin

Photo by: Lucien Harmegnies

Things are even closer in the team championship, with Marc VDS and WRT Audi well ahead of their rivals, but separated by just two points at the top of the standings.

With just two rounds of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series remaining, the battle for both championships looks set to go down to the wire.

Mathematically there are a number of drivers and teams still in with a shout of the titles but, realistically, it is now a straight fight between two Belgian squads; the Marc VDS Racing Team and WRT Audi.

Martin missed the recent 24 Hours of Zolder, after fracturing a rib in a training accident, but returns to the #3 BMW Z4 GT3 this weekend at the Nürburgring. The Marc VDS driver raced last weekend, but is under no illusions as to how tough racing with an injury will be this weekend.

The Nürburgring is located in the Eifel region of Germany, close to the Belgian border. The weather in the region is both notorious and unpredictable, which often makes for exciting racing.

Maxime Martin: #3 BMW Z4 GT3: "This weekend is a big one for the championship and, above all else, we need to finish the race and score points. We can't afford any mistakes; the car needs to be prepared perfectly and we need to avoid any trouble on track.

The gap back to second place in the driver standings is only 15 points and, with a win worth 25 points, we simply can't have any problems this weekend. The rib injury shouldn't be too much of an issue, I qualified on pole and won the race at last weekend's GT Masters round, so it's not a big handicap.

Racing the car for an hour will be painful, but I'll just have to grit my teeth and get on with it. The championship is too important for me to do anything else."

Bert Longin: #4 BMW Z4 GT3: "Too many times this season we've had a problem in the #4 car that has stopped us from realising our potential, so we need to bring everything together this weekend and aim for the podium.

It's an ambitious goal, but we need two good results, here and in Navarra, to round out our season. The team really needs to be together at the Nürburgring, because our #3 car will be pushing hard for the championship and that means the pressure will be high this weekend."

Bas Leinders: Team Principal: "The pressure is on, as the Nürburgring race will be pivotal to the championship. The driver standings are close, but the team championship is even closer, with WRT Audi the biggest threat in both going into these last two races.

We need to play clever with the #3 car this weekend if we are to consolidate our position in the driver standings, but it won't be easy. Max is returning from injury and isn't yet at full fitness, but the biggest issue is the additional 20kg we have to put on the car, compared to only 10kg for Audi, our closest rivals.

Why we've been given double the weight of Audi is a mystery, but it's something we will simply have to work around as best we can. It will be a tough weekend for both crews, but I'm confident that the team will rise to the occasion, as they always do."

Source: Marc VDS Racing Team

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Stéphane Ortelli , Bas Leinders , Bert Longin , Markus Palttala , Maxime Martin , Christopher Mies , Christopher Haase
Teams Marc VDS Racing
Article type Preview
Tags bmw, endurance, leinders, martin, nurburgring, palttala