Mixed fortunes for Marc VDS Racing Team at Monza

Published: 14 Apr 2012

The Marc VDS Racing Team had a mixed qualifying for Round One of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza.  The #3 BMW Z4 GT3 of Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin and Markus Palttala will start from 18th position, while the #4 car of Mike Hezemans, Bert Longin and Henri Moser will start from the back of the grid after an incident meant the car did not complete qualifying.

With the sessions repeatedly delayed thanks to red flags for accidents, it was a challenge to get any rhythm, but Maxime Martin managed to limit the damage caused by a lack of power.  The Belgian driver lapped in 1:49.218, despite a straight-line speed more than 10km/h slower than rival cars.  It was a time good enough for 18th position.

Unfortunately Bert Longin suffered an incident during the first part of qualifying, the BMW Z4 GT3 colliding with the barrier at the second chicane.  The marshals would not allow car #4 to rejoin the track and the car was forced to sit out the remainder of qualifying.  The car must therefore start from near the back of the grid.

The three-hour endurance race begins tomorrow at 13:15 GMT.

Maxime Martin: Car #3
“The lap was actually not as good as I could have managed.  We tried some new things on the car, in an attempt to improve, but unfortunately they didn't work as planned.  But it's OK in a sense, because now we can take that data into the race - apart from the straight-line speed, the car is good.  We are still reasonably confident.  Monza isn't the track for us, but it's a three-hour race.  We have a strong team and a strong line up so I am not too worried.”

Bert Longin: Car #4
“I was really surprised by how much we are handicapped in a straight line – over 10km/h!  I could not overtake slower drivers, because it is too slow on the straight.  I saw the laptime I was doing, which was not good because I was behind such a slow car, and I over pushed.  It's my mistake – it's that easy.  I was pushing hard in the second chicane, and got on the throttle very early, perhaps too early.It gave me a lot of understeer coming out, I went wide, touched the gravel and then I was in the wall.  I don't think the damage is too bad – but the drivers always say that!”

Sébastien Metz: Technical Director
“We were not expecting to be on pole position – with the car and the small power we have, Monza is not a good track for us.  We are still learning the car, but we gain more experience every day.  The target for the race is to be consistent, with no mistakes, and do the best we can.  We don't want to push too hard and ruin our chances.”