BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS took a commanding victory in the European Le Mans Series at Estoril. The #87 BMW Z4 GT3, piloted by Bas Leinders, Markus Palttala and Henry Hassid, lapped the field in the GTC class.
In their first European Le Mans Series event, the Belgian squad had a tough race – ranged against a strong field. After qualifying fourth – with Leinders at the wheel – Palttala drove the opening exchanges. The Finn made an outstanding start and was in the lead by the end of the fourth lap, and was able to hold the position throughout the first stint.
After double-stinting his tyres, he handed over to Marc VDS debutant Hassid in second place. The Frenchman drove perfectly, with consistent lap times and good pace, before handing over to Leinders.
Solid strategy work ensured that Leinders had the lead and he was able to consolidate the position throughout the stint, to earn victory and break Ferrari’s stranglehold on the GTC class.
Markus Palttala, #87 BMW Z4 GT3
“I tried to take the first stint pretty easy, to manage and survive the second stint. I knew that would be tough, double-stinting the tyres. I had a really good couple of laps at the start, then only lost out at the end of the second stint because the Ferrari changed their tyres. Henry was amazing – the guy is just very good – and Bas was on full attack mode. We knew it would be difficult, but we had a very clean race and that put us on top. The pitwork and the strategy was perfect.”
Henry Hassid, #87 BMW Z4 GT3
“It’s just amazing to be here. Bas called me two weeks ago to invite me for this race, so it’s a great result. Thanks to him and the team, it was all perfect. I love the BMW Z4 GT3, and I’ve won in the Blancpain Endurance Series with this model of car. I would love to continue with the team in 2015, but we will see.”
Sebastien Metz, Technical Director
“My first impressions of the European Le Mans Series were that there is a very high level, and it’s a nice championship. I was impressed by the level of preparation of the teams in every category. The organisation is excellent, technical-wise and sporting-wise so we’re quite happy about our first shot here. All three drivers did a great job, and the team did a fantastic job in every stop. Perfect!”