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Spa: Sensational victory for Menten-Maasen in qualifying race
A strong start to the upcoming meeting for Jos Menten and Xavier Maassen. It soon became apparent during the free practice that the Mad Croc Racing Corvette C6.R hadn’t travelled on down to Spa merely to act as a grid filler in the FIA GT1 World Championship. Menten and Maassen took the Corvette through its paces and promptly decided to park the car in the pitbox. “The car is perfect and shod with new tyres we’re definitely playing up front”, is how Menten analysed the first free practice session. “However seeing the regulations limit the number of sets, it is important not to use up all our tyres right now. Qualifying on Friday morning remains the important factor as also the races on Friday at 16.30hrs and obviously the main race on Saturday midday.”

In the 80 minutes long pre-qualifying session Jos Menten clocked up the best time. The 29 year old driver from Haelen found himself on the track just at the right time and took full advantage of the weather conditions: “I was just on a fast lap when the heavens opened up. In all conditions the car is perfect. Equally at home on a wet track, a drying one or a dry circuit! We’re looking pretty confident for the weekend ahead”, a smiling and clearly delighted Jos Menten added. Maassen is also excited about the result achieved. “I’ve known Jos for years and we only live a few kilometres from each other and it’s great that for once we can compete together. He’s a fast driver and he knows Spa and the Corvette like the back of his hand. I’m fully convinced that the press release after the race will contain some great news. Two Limburgers on the podium of an FIA World Championship, that would be fantastic”, Xavier Maassen winked.

It looked as though Maassen’s remarks contained some prophetic value. In the qualifying session the Corvette C6.R bearing number 11 was exceptionally strong. In Q1 Maassen clocked up a second best time. Menten took over for Q2 and also registered a second place. In Q3 it was once again Maassen’s turn to get the best out of the Corvette … “and that he did brilliantly”, a smiling Menten commented. “For a while I thought that the pole would go to the Lamborghini, but with a shattering lap of 2:17” Xavier definitely pulled the rug his way. On Wednesday morning there wasn’t even any talk of competing in GT1, and now two days later we’re on pole, don’t you think that’s pretty incredible?”

It was left to Jos Menten to get the most out of his team mate’s pole position. Menten carried out his assignment to perfection, taking a brilliant start, and building up a lead of several seconds on his nearest rivals. Just before the opening of the pit window a Reiter Lamborghini came up close behind. “Near the end the Lambo was creeping closer, but thanks to some excellent work by our pit crew Xavier was able to get back on track with a 3 seconds advantage”, Menten commented straight after his stint. Former F1 driver Zonta tried to close in on the Corvette C6.R … but the Brazilian commits a mistake, following which Maassen was able to take control of the race. Victory for the Limburg duo is a reality! “A brilliant victory, the first victory for Mad Croc in the FIA GT1 World Championship, as also the first victory for a Limburg-based duo. We can now proudly state that we have placed our province on the world map. This is very moreish. Tomorrow rendezvous at the foot of the Raidillon for act two!”, a jubilant Menten retorted after the finish.

Tomorrow Jos Menten will also be at the start of the 24 Hours of Spa. The Porsche 911 GT3 R, which Menten shares with his countryman Oskar Slingerland and his two southern neighbours Soulet and Schroyen, will be on the fifth row of the starting grid. “It’s a long and heavy race. There’s no point in taking unnecessary risks in qualifying. Last year we won having taken the start from seventh spot on the grid. In fact the starting position is of little importance. We’ll be concentrating on our own race”, Menten commented looking ahead to the Ardennes endurance race.
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