Marc VDS Racing Team, Le Castellet, France, September 6th 2015: BMW Team Marc VDS stood on the podium for the first time in the 2015 European Le Mans Series, at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. Henry Hassid, Andy Priaulx and Jesse Krohn took the #52 BMW Z4 GTE to second place at the Paul Ricard track.
Qualifying on Sunday morning was a disappointment for the team. With track conditions cooler than than practice, Priaulx suffered. The car and tyres didn’t match up well in the lower temperatures, and the Briton was stranded in eighth place.
However, it was a different story in the race, as track temperatures rose under the French sun. Hassid, racing at a track he’s very fond of, was able to avoid a spinning Porsche at the first turn and make heaps of progress in the opening stint. Over the course of the hour, he moved from eighth to second.
Priaulx took the second hour, and was moving into position to challenge for the lead when the safety car intervened. The field was split, leaving the leading – and eventually winning – Ferrari with an unassailable lap advantage. Both Priaulx and Krohn, who drove the final two hours, were faultlessly fast and consistent, but nothing could be done about the gap to the leader. Krohn was able to comfortably see out the race and claim the team’s first ELMS podium of the year.
The result sees Marc VDS move into second in the teams’ standings, and Hassid, Krohn and Priaulx also to second in the drivers’ standings. The margin in both is 19 points, with 26 on offer in the final round, at Estoril.
It is Marc VDS’ third podium at Paul Ricard in three visits – a win here in the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2013, and a third place earlier this year in the same championship preceded today’s result.
Henry Hassid, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“I’m very happy to step on the podium. We’ve worked extremely hard as a team but until today the results hadn’t matched the effort. Today, the team has really earned a taste of champagne. My stint was a lot of fun, and I felt really good in the car. It was stable, and great to drive. It helps that I love this track, and I just felt confidence right from the start. Everyone did a great job!”
Andy Priaulx, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“I’m really pleased we’re up here on the podium. I was concerned in qualifying – the car just felt awful. But then, in the race, the temperatures suited us a bit better and it felt great. I was comfortable, the pace was good and if it wasn’t for the bad luck with the safety car we’d have been right in the hunt to win the race. Henry and Jesse both drove superbly – to go from eighth to second in one stint, as a bronze driver, is really impressive.”
Jesse Krohn, BMW Z4 GTE #52
“The team deserve this. OK, second place isn’t as good as a win, but it felt fantastic to achieve it with Marc VDS. This season has been a challenge so far, but everything felt great today. Henry was amazing – I’m so impressed with his stint. It was frustrating to see the safety car split the field, though, because Andy looked like he was ready to challenge for the lead. Basically, my stint was just consolidation, because the gaps in front and behind were so big, but the car was great in the race. That’s a good sign for Estoril.”
Original article posted by Marc VDS Racing Team September 6th, 2015