Saturday 9 April 2011

Basseng And Winkelhock take First All-Inkl Lamborghini Win

Round 2 – Zolder, Belgium


9th April 2011

Basseng And Winkelhock take First All-Inkl Lamborghini Win

Two weeks after taking their first podium finish, Marc Basseng took the chequered flag in the Round 2 Qualifying Race at Zolder to secure the first GT1 World race win for the Münnich Motorsport team. Marcus Winkelhock set up his teammate for the victory when he had a fantastic start, thanks in part to a collision between some of the front runners at the first corner, ending the opening lap in 3rd place from 12th on the grid. Winkelhock handed the car over to Basseng, who moved ahead of the Exim Bank Team China Corvette of Mike Hezemans and then past the leader, Christian Hohenadel in the Hexis Aston Martin three laps from home.

A dramatic start set the tone for the rest of the race, as the front row starters - the No. 37 All-Inkl Lamborghini and the No. 8 Young Driver AMR - clashed at the first corner - effectively ending both cars challenges. The No. 22 JR Motorsport Nissan GT fell victim to the carnage ahead, suffering damage to the rear suspension which ruled it out on the first lap. The first corner carnage caused a major reshuffle in the pack, as Nicky Catsburg in the No. 11 Exim Bank Team China Corvette moved from sixth into the lead by turn two.

Second fell to the fast-starting No. 41 Marc VDS Ford GT, which had started from 10th, while third was occupied by eventual race winners Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock in the No. 38 All Inkl Lamborghini - which had started from 12th.

They were joined by Alex Muller and Tomas Enge in the No. 7 Young Driver Aston Martin in a four-way battle for the lead, which reigned until the opening of the pit stop window when the No. 41 Ford was finally able to end Catsburg's impressive resistance in the Corvette and move into the lead.

Hexis AMR then came to the fore as they produced yet another scintillating pit stop routine to help the No. 4 Aston Martin of Christian Hohenadel and Andrea Piccini jump into the race lead, as a wheel socket problem befell the No. 41 Ford during its pit stop and dropped it from first to seventh.

That left the No. 4 Hexis Aston Martin leading from Hezemans in the No. 11 Corvette and Basseng in the No. 38 Lamborghini, but with 20 minutes of the race remaining the gaps began to close as the trio were covered by less than one second.

Hezemans defended doggedly for several laps but was finally unable to resist Basseng's charge as the German moved the No. 38 All-Inkl Murcielago into second through turns two and three, before locking onto the back of the lead No. 4 Hexis Aston Martin DB9.

There was still time for late drama however as with four minutes of the race remaining Basseng made light contact with the No. 4 Hexis DB9, which suffered suspension damage and was forced to retire.

That left Basseng free to take the chequered flag and with it the All-Inkl squad's maiden GT1 victory. "It's incredible - our first win!," a delighted Basseng said. "I'm sorry to Aston but it was a racing move, really light contact. For us though, our first podium in the last event and now our first win - fantastic!"

Hezemans had to defend again in the closing stages but coped admirably to secure second in the Exim Bank Team China's Corvette, with the No. 7 Young Driver Aston Martin DB9 surviving a three-way fight for the line to clinch third.

There were several casualties throughout the race, including both Belgian Racing Ford GT cars which clashed on lap nine at the second chicane - the resulting damage ruling out both cars from their home Qualifying Race.

Marc Basseng, Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini No.38

“It’s just amazing, I can’t believe it. Thank you to the mechanics who did a great job. I have great memories here at Zolder, but I think this is the best yet – the first win in GT1 for All-Inkl.

“After I got Mike (Hezemans), which was a nice move, I caught up the gap to the front really quickly. I had a good exit on the back straight, he defended a little so I went on the outside and then he turned into me. I’m sorry for that because his car was damaged but it was not my fault. It’s a shame for the other All-Inkl as well – pole position again and another first corner incident, but now its in our hands to take it a little bit better. The race was great and it’s really nice to win – and hopefully we can have another good result tomorrow!”

Markus Winkelhock, Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini No.38

“I think I was quite lucky to come through from 12th to third in the first corner – I almost couldn’t believe it! The car was pretty good in the beginning, but just before I came into the pit stop I got a bit of oversteer and I almost spun, so I was a bit more careful. It’s a great result for us, thank you to my team and my team-mate – Marc made a great move and that’s the reason we won actually. Two podiums in three races – it’s not a bad start, and I hope it continues like that!”

Mike Hezemans, Exim Bank Team China Corvette No. 11

“The car felt okay, but coming out of the pits (Nicky) said ‘No brakes, no brakes’ so when I came out of the pits I put the balance to the back. On the first lap I still had no brakes and the Aston Martin overtook me, so I did a few slow laps and the brakes started coming back. I caught back up, but then the Lamborghini passed me. I really wanted a good finish, and a good starting position for tomorrow, so I’m really happy.”

Nicky Catsburg, Exim Bank Team China Corvette No. 11

“I was quite amazed myself with the start – I was so lucky because some drivers went left, some went right and I stuck to the middle and came out first! I was amazed by that, but by the end of my stint I had some problems with my brakes, I kept going deeper and deeper so I couldn’t hold off the Ford any more. We didn’t expect to be here at all though so I’m really happy! The Corvette is quite nice to drive and with Mike I have the best teacher, I just have to listen to him and do what he says!”

Tomas Enge, Young Driver Aston Martin Racing No. 7

“I would say I was really lucky in the first corner, because I could see the accident right in front of me and I was nearly caught up in it! I got hit and the steering wheel wasn’t straight anymore so I thought that might be my race, but I kept going and it was clear after the first few laps there was no other damage. I knew we had a pretty fast car and that it was pretty hard to overtake, so we just held position and I think this is a great starting position for tomorrow so thanks to my team-mate and the team.”

Alex Müller, Young Driver Aston Martin Racing No. 7

“Tomas said the steering wasn’t straight so we had a bit more understeer, which gave us a bit more degradation in the rears, but as Tomas said it’s a good position for tomorrow going into the Championship Race. The car is fast, so we hope to have a clear start and see what happens.”

Karl Wendlinger, Swiss Racing Lamborghini No. 5

“I’m really pleased with the result. We struggled a little at the beginning of my stint with the low tyre pressure but the car was consistent. May one lap more I could have got one place more but we have to focus on the main race tomorrow. The boys were very fast in the pit stop so I’m looking forward to tomorrow as we now have a good starting position.

Christian Hohenadel, Hexis Aston Martin No.4

“We had a great pace at the start and it was going well. As for the incident (with the No.38 Lamborghini), my tyres were worn so I tried to stay on the inside at the braking point at the last chicane. He came up quite fast and I couldn’t just disappear. It was a real shame. I made contact and the suspension broke. It was a strong move but that’s racing I guess.”

Vanina Ickx, Belgian Racing Ford GT No.9

“I am not that disappointed. We came from back in the field ((17th). Yesterday I was not confident in the car but didn’t have the chance to get my marks. Today we gambled on the set-up and it was a good gamble because it took only a few laps for me to get into a good rhythm. I avoided the crashes early on and I was running 11th until the crash (a collision with the sister Belgian Racing car) which which was a disappointment of course but it’s important to have a good feeling in the car. I am feeling much better about tomorrow. It’s always difficult to talk about expectations when you are dropped in a new championship with a new. Yesterday I talked with (Laurence Hanssen, team manager) and she said we could aim for the top 10 and I didn’t believe her but it was close. Tomorrow, we have the confidence to try for that.”

Maxime Martin, Marc VDS Ford GT No.41

“We had quite a lot of luck at the start from 10th position. Mako (Fred Makowiecki) did a really good job – he was first at the end of his stint. We had a problem at the pit stop, something broke with the gun so we lost 12 seconds. But anyway, we still finished fifth so we scored some points. I think we had the pace to win but the most important race is tomorrow. The object is to make a good start, stay out of the mess at the first corner and get a good result. For sure we have a good car.”

Frederic Makowiecki, Marc VDS Ford GT No.41

“After a good start, I pushed until I could see a chance to take the lead and it was going well. But then we had a problem in the pit stop. We re-joined in seventh place so it was disappointing to lose all those places. We just have to do better tomorrow.”

Marc Hennerici, Marc VDS Ford GT No.40

“Another disappointing day. Bas (Leinders) had little chance when he got caught up in the trouble at the start and the suspension broke. That’s motorsport I guess. This is the worst start to a season in my whole career but we just have to stick together and get through it. I’m sure we are going to be back at the top of the grid. We are going to be back.”

Martin Matzke, Belgian Racing Ford GT No.10

“It was a racing incident; I don’t think it was anyone’s fault. It was a mistake on both sides.”

Info: FIA GT1/ Fotos:AmigosRacing.

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