Another podium for Convers MenX

29.08.2006: Another podium for Convers MenX

Peter Kox, Robert Pergl, Alexey Vasiliev and the Convers MenX team managed to turn round a difficult start to the weekend and third place in the race at Donington was a great reward. Going into the last race the team is joint second in the GT1 class of the Le Mans Series, just one point behind the leader.

The British round of the Le Mans Series looked like a roller-coaster ride for the Convers MenX team. Fortunately, the bad start was followed by a good ending. The whole running was packed into only two days and this schedule could be sometimes hard. Saturday started in the wet and while the lap times were looking promising, especially after Peter Kox set a blistering pace on the drying track, the practice ended prematurely after the mechanics spotted a water leak. The team fixed the problem for the second practice but the car’s steering started to be unpredictable. Valuable time was lost and Peter Kox had to do the qualifying without powersteering. In a very close matched session team ended sixth, which was a respectable performance given the disrupted preparation.

Sunday brought sunshine and fortune showed its better face to the team. Kox started the race and was running well in touch with other competitors until he was hit from behind. He spun and lost over 15 second that proved very costly when the Safety car was called in shortly afterwards. The leading LMP1 car had just overtaken the Care Racing owned Maranello and the team lost a lap to four GT1 cars. While it might have been only damage limitation afterwards, great reliability coupled with a faultless performance from all three drives allowed steady progress in the ranking that ended with a podium finish.

The situation in the championship is incredibly close in the GT1 class. The first three cars are separated by just one point and Jarama can expect nothing else but a great fight for the honour and direct 24 hours Le Mans entries.

Peter Kox: "We are happy with another podium because our preparation was not straightforward. Robert and Alex basically did not have any dry laps on Saturday and also our tyre choice was quite a bit of a guess. However, the team should get full praise for how the car was sorted for the race. The track came to us during the race and I was even a bit surprised by my lap times in the closing stages because I did not push hard at all. We had a bid of bad luck at the beginning when Lister, who was a well down in the order, hit me from behind. We lost over 15 seconds and then the Safety car came out just when the leader passed me, so we lost a lap to our competitors. The fight for the championship is now very much on and we are looking forward to Jarama."

Robert Pergl: "First of all I am delighted with the result but I am even happier with my performance. I would have preferred rain in the race but it was not bad at all. This is not my favourite track and I did not run in the dry yesterday at all but I managed to put in very good and consistent lap times. The team prepared the car well for the race. We are ready to fight at Jarama for the title."

Alexey Vasiliev: "Thanks to the team and my teammates because we did not expect a podium finish after Saturday. I had a very good feeling with the car in the warm up, it was easy to drive. However, my race was not too easy. My best lap times were very good but I was not happy with the consistency because I had some problems with my right leg. I was very lucky once – I got a hit from behind but managed to keep the car on the road. The result is very important for us in the championship. We know that the last race will be difficult but we do not want to miss this opportunity."

Ivo Horn, technical director: "Our weekend had a bad start but the end was good. We had a problem with water pumps in the first practice and had to miss the majority of the second one with steering issues. Peter did a great job in the qualifying without power steering. Obviously, we were quite a bit disappointed but we knew that only the race itself matters. We managed to prepare a perfectly reliable car for the race. The start was difficult because we did not choose the best tyres and only later switched to the best Michelin option. We also lost a lap due to the Safety car but our reliability fortunately helped us to a podium finish. Jarama will be definitely thrilling and we will do our best to be in a good shape there."

 

- Jiri "Bunny" Rozkosny -

copyright automobilsport.com 29.08.2006

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29.08.2006 / MaP

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