Race incident forces MRS to repair GT-R in a night shiftMRS-Team unlucky – 15th position in the raceNissan GT-R NISMO GT3 impresses with speed and reliability
Molitor Racing experienced the season opener of the Blancpain Sprint Series in Nogaro with mixed feelings. The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 impressed with its speed and reliability, but a race incident in the early part of the qualification race forced the team from Lonsee to retire after just one lap. Following on, the #73 Nissan started from 16th place into the main race on Easter Monday and came home in 15th position.
Due to the long Easter weekend, the free practice sessions went underway on Saturday. Both drivers Craig Dolby and Sean Walkinshaw managed to complete over 70 laps between them and were running constantly in the Top-15. “The lap times during the practice runs demonstrated, that we have a race car that can compete right at the top”, said Karsten Molitor, Team Principal.“We did a lot of test runs during the past weeks and it really paid off this weekend.” During qualifying, the “Godzilla” really showed its potential by securing the sixth fastest lap time with only 0.200 seconds off the front row.”
MRS even gained one more position, starting from fifth on the grid for the one-hour qualification race on Sunday afternoon. During the opening lap, the #6 Phoenix Racing Audi and the #84 Bentley Team HTP Continental collided on track whilst being hit by a number of other cars – including the MRS-Nissan. With immense damage to the rear of the GT-R as well as a broken rear suspension, the team was forced to retire after just one lap.
During a long nightshift and especially flown-in parts from the UK, the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 looked almost brand-new on Monday morning. The main race was started from 16th position in sunny and warm conditions. Walkinshaw completed a fine start (his first ever rolling start in a GT3 race car) and had a good fight for positions with a Bentley and a Porsche. The 21-year-old handed over the car to Craig Dolby in 15th position, and Dolby took the car home in the same place.
“After a promising start to the weekend being P5 in Super Pole, I am a little disappointed as I got taken out of race one, which was not my fault”, said Craig Dolby afterwards. “The team did a fantastic job to get the car fixed and there is a lot of positives to take out of the weekend. We look at them now and move on to Monza.”
Preview Season Opener Blancpain Endurance Series
The MRS-Team is looking ahead to another season opener: The Blancpain Endurance Series will start next week at Monza. Since 2011, the GT Series opens its championship at the “Temple of Speed” in the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and this year’s season promises to be the best ever. 24 race cars run in the Pro Cup Class, making the Top-Category stronger than ever.
The drivers Craig Dolby and Sean Walkinshaw will be joined by fellow Brit Martin Plowman. The first free practice will commence on Saturday, 11th April from 12:05 local time.