Trouble in Europe for the Vantages

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Last weekend saw the first round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza with both MP-AMR and Oman Racing Team (Motorbase) each having a single car, full season entry into the Pro-Am and Pro Cup categories respectively.

Being the first race weekend of the year and with a new chassis team MP-AMR (Mark Poole, Richard Abra and Joe Osbourne) reported issues with pure straight line speed together with normal set up balance but still qualified the car in P26 - 1.8seconds off the pace.

With Richard Abra taking the opening stint and looking very racey there were early tussles between him and the TDS BMW Z4 but after only 12minutes into race the TV camera picks up the MP-AMR car behind a dusty shroud in the gravel at the Curva Parabolica. Not until the end of Richard's stint was it disclosed that the Vantage received some outside assistance into placing it into that predicament. Video footage a few corners beforehand may lay the blame at the door of one of the Belgium Audi Club Audi R8's seen chewing at the rear valance of the black and red Vantage.

Intervention by the circuit vehicles and inevitable debris clear out in the pit lane lost the team 3 laps to the leaders and despite some serious chasing down (and some further technical issues for Mark Poole possible as a consequence of the off) left the team right back where they started finishing in P26.

The Motorbase ran, Oman Racing Team Vantage of Ahmed Al Harthy, Michael Caine and Stephen Jelley were entering their first Blancpain GT Series in the Pro Cup class.

With Jelley taking the opening 1hour stint he was able to push his way up to 12th before handing over to Al Harthy. He again was able to find good speed and climbed the leader board still further before the second scheduled pit stop but it was at this point their hopes and plans for a good finish faded, and all within a lap of Caine taking over the car.

One of those very annoying and difficult to find electrical, possibly an earth fault had manifested itself within the car causing unusual things to happen with the windscreen wipers and pit lane limiter which unfortunately forced Caine to pit. Despite frantic attempts by the team to find the fault they couldn't and the car was retired having completed 70% of the race.

Emphasis for both the team will now shift to the British GT Series with their respective cars/teams for the season's opener at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend.

Photo/Video Credits - Blancpain GT Series
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