Marc VDS Racing concluded its inaugural GT1 season in Argentina with disappointment, having finished the first of two races in promising fashion.
Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin suffered from a blown engine earlier in the weekend and had hoped the worst was behind them by the time race day dawned.
The Belgian pair could have been excused for thinking exactly that after they secured an impressive third place in Sunday morning’s Qualifying Race. They battled through the field in their No.40 Ford GT from 12th on the grid to take the final podium spot and four championship points.
However, any hope of the strong form continuing had dried up in the Argentinian sun come Sunday afternoon.
Martin lost multiple places at the start of the Championship Race, dropping to a lowly 19th place. He brilliantly fought back to ninth before the mandatory pit stop. Soon after Leinders took over the Ford GT’s engine blew for the second time in the weekend.
“I lost some more places at the start when I was pushed wide by some less scrupulous drivers", said Martin. “I regained the track in 19th but made up a lot of places before the stop."
Marc VDS Team Manager Jean-Michel Delporte added: "The engine issue has happened to us before at the start of the season. We thought we had solved the problem, but apparently not. The engines will now be sent back to the US to examine the cause of these incidents."
Trouble continued in the other side of the garage with Markus Palttala and Matteo Bobbi in the No.41 car.
Palttala started the main race in 15th and had clawed his way up the running order. However, his pit-to-car radio transmission had failed and the Finn missed the pit window.
"By the time I saw the pit board on the wall it already was too late,” explained Palttala. “When I eventually came back to the pit lane the team had decided to call it a day.”
The teams’ only real success over the weekend came on Saturday afternoon when the Belgian outfit won the GT1 pedalo race on the San Luis Lake.
No points were awarded in that race, but the team finished the season in eighth place with 62 points in the teams’ standings. Meanwhile, Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin scored a total of 54 points to place them 14th in the driver’s championship. Their teammates Matteo Bobbi and Markus Palttala concluded their seasons in 30th and 41st respectively.