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Portimao: Points finish for Jos Menten
For the seventh meeting of the season the FIA GT1 caravan travelled on down to Portimao, Portugal. In the sunny Algarve region – and quite a contrast to the cold Nurburg experienced two weeks previously – Jos Menten once again was in the points. Together with team mate Frank Kechele Menten clinched the eighth place in the World Championship race. The race was won by Vitaphone Racing, whereby the Maserati team is pretty sure of grabbing all the titles. The second Reiter Engineering Lamborghini also finished in the points, whereby Hans Reiter’s team has strengthened its second place in the team championship.

During the practice on Friday it was soon apparent that the car’s balance was not up to scratch. Both in the free practice as in the pre-qualifying the Lamborghini Murciélago 670 R-SV was unable to get any further than the lower placing. “Partly the strategy, partly the set-up”, Jos Menten explained. “It’s crucial no to wear out the tyres, as these sets are also used in the Qualifying Race as also the World Championship race. If you want to score point you need to conserve your tyres during the practice. On top of that the car’s balance wasn’t perfect and that also plays a factor in trying to stay up front”, the Haelen based driver continued. In the free practice Menten and Kechele finally finished in 20th place, and 19th in the pre-qualifying session. Striking are the highly small margins on this Portuguese circuit. “Had we pushed a bit harder we could have knocked off several tenths more. This would have given us at least the tenth best time.”

The initial part of the three qualifying sessions was right up team mate Frank Kechele street. The German brought the Lambo bearing number 25 through to the best time. In Q2 it was Jos Menten’s turn to tame the raging bull. Notwithstanding frantic efforts to reach the final eight Menten had to be satisfied with a tenth best time. “I just went wide once and that cost me a place in the last eight. The differences are minimal, very rarely have the cars been so close to one another. You pay cash for any error you make, and that’s what happened to us today. But there is a positive side to it also. We can save our last set of unused tyres for the World Championship race”, Menten commented in a combative mood.

Jos Menten took the start of the Qualifying Race from the middle of the pack. “Not an ideal position to be in, as there is pushing and nudging from all quarters. But this time around there weren’t any major incidents, but I wasn’t on the ideal line for the second bend, giving me less speed on the straight. The other competitors took advantage of this and we dropped back several places. After that we took on a conservative approach and managed to climb up to the fourteenth place. Tomorrow is an important day. We definitely need to finish amongst the best ten in order to strengthen our second place in the team ranking. Due to Vitaphone winning the qualifying race it is now almost impossible to put any pressure on them for the World Championship title. Our assignment now is to score points and finish in front of the Astons of Young Drivers!”

Both Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murciélago once again started from the heart of the pack, with the #24 of Kox-Haase in twelfth and the Menten-Kechele power beast in fourteenth. At the start there is a crash between the All-Inkl Lambo and a Vitaphone Maserati, allowing Menten’s team mate Frank Kechele to move up two places. Even though the pack remains very tight hardly any risks are taken. Following a perfectly executed pitstop, when Kechele hands over the drive to Menten, the number 25 Lamborghini is now in the points. Once everyone has carried out their pitstop, Menten is lapping in ninth place, with in his sights a Young Drivers’ Aston Martin. “The Aston driver went wide, and I took my chance. I placed the Lambo on the inside and braked later”, Menten commented, and with that manoeuvre took important points for Reiter Engineering! Thanks to the results of Menten-Kechele and Kox-Haase Reiter Engineering strengthens its second position in the team championship rankings.
 
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Agenda
13/04/2013 - DTM 4 Stunden rennen
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27/04/2013 - ACAS H&R-Cup
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19/05/2013 - 24 Hours Nurburgring
22/06/2013 - Simfy Trophy
20/07/2013 - Reinoldus-rennen
27/07/2013 - 24 Hours of Spa
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24/08/2013 - Ruhr-Pokal
14/09/2013 - DMV Grenzlandrennen
28/09/2013 - Barbarossapreis
12/10/2013 - 250-Meilen-Rennen
26/10/2013 - Münsterlandpokal
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