More points for Marc VDS at Imola

Marc VDS Racing Team, Imola Italy May 17th 2015: BMW Team Marc VDS finished the second round of their European Le Mans Series GTE campaign with a closely fought fourth place for Henry Hassid, Jesse Krohn and Andy Priaulx at the 4 Hours of Imola.

After Priaulx qualified the car in fourth place in the 20 minute morning session, a technical infringement saw the #52 BMW Z4 GTE demoted to the back of the grid. Hassid took the start, picking-off the GTC cars ahead and making solid progress thereafter, dicing with the lead GTC car before the intervention of the first safety car. At the re-start, Hassid was able to pass the GTC class leader and make in-roads into GTE territory before pitting on the hour when sixth in class and P13 overall on the road.

Hassid handed the car to Krohn, who began his stint with the GTE field firmly in sight after the pit-stops had cycled through. Immediately on the pace, the Finn set consistently faster laps than the class leader on his way to making up five places to run 14th overall. However, he was called in on Lap 57 to serve a drive-through penalty, incurred for Hassid not having paid sufficient respect to the track limits in his stint. The 2nd safety car emerged shortly afterward and Krohn came in for fuel and tyres.

Superlative work from the mechanics meant two places gained in the pit and Krohn took another on the re-start to sit fourth in class and P14 overall. Regularly the fastest GTE on the track, Jesse kept pushing and managed to make it up to second in class, at one point closing the gap to the leading Ferrari to 0.5s before tyres became an issue. With ageing rubber, due to a slightly early stop under safety car conditions, Krohn was caught by platinum driver Richard Lietz’s Porsche on fresher tyres and ended his stint in third.

Andy Priaulx took the final stint exiting the pits in fourth and showed good pace, despite the heavy traffic. Priaulx stayed in the leading pack, swapping places with the Ferraris despite having to carefully manage fuel and an intermittent temperature alarm. For much of the final hour just five seconds covered the first five GTE positions. Pushing for a podium finish right up until the end of the race, Priaulx harried but was unable to pass local expert Andrea Rizzoli and finished a solid fourth, just four tenths of a second from the third step.

Henry Hassid, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“Unfortunately I started last. I overtook three GTC cars easily at the start and progressed well. Then was very difficult to get past the GTC leader because the track is narrow and we are fighting for position. I used the safety car to get ahead of the GTC and join our class GTE. ”

Jesse Krohn, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“I’m happy with my drive, no mistakes, good speed in the car. I had to use a lower power engine mode but I was able to keep up with the leaders. It was hot in the car, at the end of the stint it was like a sauna. It was tough, but we did the best we could from where we started.”

Andy Priaulx, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“We should be happy with where we came from today; even after starting from the back and then taking a drive-through, I had a really good stint in a well-balanced racey car and we finished right on top of the leaders. The disappointing thing is that a podium or better was possible, that’s the disappointing thing but P4 is a good way to end after what we were looking at tis morning. ”

Original article published by Marc VDS Racing Team 18 May 2015

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