"THE 24 HOURS ARE PART OF OUR DNA" The Marc VDS Racing Team has entered two Ford GT GT3s in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Marc Duez, Maxime Martin and Bas Leinders will drive one, while Eric de Doncker, Renaud Kuppens and Markus Palttala will drive...
"THE 24 HOURS ARE PART OF OUR DNA"
The Marc VDS Racing Team has entered two Ford GT GT3s in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Marc Duez, Maxime Martin and Bas Leinders will drive one, while Eric de Doncker, Renaud Kuppens and Markus Palttala will drive the other. Both are aiming for a podium finish.
The Marc VDS Racing Team will be the busiest team in the paddock this weekend at Francorchamps, with on the one hand, two Ford GTs entered in the FIA GT1 World Championship and, on the other, two Ford GT GT3s entered in the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
"These last few weeks have not been particularly restful," recalls Jean-Michel Delporte, General Manager of Marc VDS Racing Team. "At the beginning of July, we had to find a way to compete in the twice round-the-clock event. Fortunately, we have an excellent collaboration with Matech and this helped us quickly to receive two Ford GT GT3s. Immediately after the test day on 7 July, we adapted the cars to the demands of an endurance race. It's taken three weeks of intensive hard work, 24/7. But we're ready!"
"Hats off to our mechanics," enthuses Marc van der Straten. "Nothing was too much trouble for them so that we could enter two Ford GT GT3s in the twice round-the-clock in the Ardennes. The 24 Hours are part of our DNA, part of our history. I've been around for several decades. Over the last few years, the Gilet Vertigos have provided us with some excellent memories. But for this edition, we've raised our expectations. The general line-up is exceptional but we're still aiming for a top five finish overall and a podium in the GT3 category. I'm delighted to welcome Mark Duez to the team. It's such an honour to be able to welcome someone who has such a long history at this event which is itself so close to our hearts."
This Wednesday, the Marc VDS team will of course be present in the Parade in Spa between 16h15 and 19h30. At the same time, a show-car version of the Ford GT will offer the public the possibility to compete in a wheel-change competition. The quickest participants will receive free access to the Total 24 Hours.
WHAT THE DRIVERS SAY...
FORD GT #98
Eric de Doncker: "I'm missing a place on the top step of the podium..." "I have competed in the 24 Hours around twelve times on a bike and my best result was a second place. This will be my sixth time in a car. In 2001 I finished third so I'm just missing the top spot on the podium! On a more serious note, I think that 5th place is feasible. Our car will start out on an endurance agenda. We will not be trying to stay in touch with the leaders. We won't trouble ourselves with what happens up front."
Renaud Kuppens : "We will keep up a sustained rhythm..." "I have never been so well equipped as I am for my 9th attempt in the 24 Hours. This Ford GT is most definitely competitive. And we are a close team. There is an excellent team spirit and we get on really well. In order to be sure to finish on Sunday at 16h00, we won't be going all out for it on the track or trying to chase after it."
Markus Palttala: "Our team has lots of practice..." "his year we have a part to play in the overall standings. I think we will not be far off a top 5 finish in GT3. In pure performance we won't be far behind the GT2s. We have a good car and a good team who is perfectly at home in this type of event."
FORD GT #99
Marc Duez : "Very proud to race in this historic team..." "I'm very proud to be racing in this historic team which has had excellent results throughout the world. It's a Belgian team which has always had a close history with the Federation. It has always given its drivers the means to express themselves. This will be the case again this year. Last year the Ford GT showed that it was competitive and reliable. And our team is completely working as one."
Maxime Martin : "The battle in GT3 will be like the lottery..." "I know this car really well since I was driving an identical Ford GT entered by Matech when I won the GT3 category last year with a 7th place overall. So I'm completely confident for this edition. But you have to remember that in 2009, a lot of GT3s, including ours, had problems. I think that the battle in our category will be more like a lottery."
Bas Leinders: "We can aim for the top five..." "Last year, we were delayed right at the start by a big problem. After 40 minutes the camshaft chain broke. Our mechanics had therefore to make lengthy repairs which received a round of applause from many onlookers in the garage. This time, we have more reliable and high-performing equipment. With a bit of success on our side, we can aim for the topfive."
-source: marc vds