Van der Zande/ Schultis win Le Mans Prototype class in Detroit

It was a spectacular race on the street circuit of Belle Isle in the industrial city of Detroit. Things went wrong for Renger van der Zande in the morning in the Pirelli World Challenge race with the Effort Porsche 911 GT3 R. He hit the wall hard. In the afternoon American Tudor Championship race with the Starworks Martini Prototype, he and team mate Mirco Schultis fought their way to the top step of the podium in impressive fashion.

Detroit, 31 May 2015

It was not just any victory. It was the conclusion of a race full of drama, with a starring role for the cool cat from the Netherlands. Mirco Schultis started the race and maintained a healthy pace. He handed the car over to Renger van der Zande at P5 in lap 25. Under yellow, van der Zande rapidly closed the gap and came up behind Vance and Junquiera at P3. It started to rain and Renger passed Junquiera with a sophisticated manoeuvre in order to move up to P2. Then “Junky”, which is his American nickname, was involved in a crash. The Dutchman used the yellow flag situation to continue closing the gap behind Vance. With half an hour to go, Vance was passed and van der Zande took first position, rapidly leaving the field in his dust. He improved the lap time lap after lap and built up a 16 second lead. A crash involving Townsend Bell brought the yellow flags out again and Renger lost his lead. But in the closing phase, with the podium in sight, in the rain and on slicks he created a 4 second gap between himself and pursuer Stephen Simpson. P6 in the general standings amongst the Daytona Prototypes and P1 in the Le Mans Prototypes brought the sweet smell of victory. The entire Peter Baron Starworks Martini team were beaming.

Renger: “What a weekend…, in the morning I wished that the earth would swallow me up after making a mistake that caused me to crash the Effort team Porsche into the wall. I had been hired in to do a good job for this fantastic team and blew it in the qualification laps. Then you have some explaining to do…. The Porsche was written off for the rest of the weekend. However, in the Tudor race with the Starworks car, and after a lot of drama and changeable weather conditions, I was able to get payback. The result was a resounding victory in the Le Mans Prototypes and an excellent position amongst the faster Daytona Prototypes. My feeling about the weekend had somewhat recovered its equilibrium when I stood on the podium“.


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