Leaders of the GT4 European Series since the very first round, in Misano Benjamin Lessennes and Daniel McKay have lost all the advantage they gained from their good start to the season. In the heat of the Adriatic coast, the drivers of the Équipe Verschuur McLaren #14 had a disastrous weekend with a 10th place finish in the Silver Cup their only consolation. While the Zandvoort and Nürburgring events have yet to be contested, Benjamin and Daniel have fallen to thirdplace in the championship, 27 points behind the leaders. But they know that not all is yet lost!
“It was a weekend to forget as quickly as possible,”sighed Benjamin on Sunday after the second race. “We knew that this Misano track was not the most suitable for our McLaren 570S GT4 from Équipe Verschuur. And that was even more the case with the intense heat here... But by managing to set the 6th fastest time in my qualifying session, I still had the hope of scoring some major points for the championship.”
From the start of the first race, at the end of Saturday, the Belgian driver once again showed his talent and his ambitions. Fifth after a lap, he gained another position and took advantage of a penalty imposed on two cars in front of him to finish his stint in second place. Unfortunately, things were to become more complicated later... “Starting second, Daniel found himself in trouble and lost several positions. But while we were still in line to score a few points, the brakes overheated completely and we had to abandon because of a leak in the hydraulic braking system.”
The next day, Daniel McKay started Race 2 from 17th place after a disappointing qualifying session. However, after climbing to 14th place before the pit stops, the Équipe Verschuur McLaren drivers had a stroke of misfortune. “We made our stop very early,” explains the driver from Namur. explique le Namurois. “And when I left the pits, the race was neutralised by a Full Course Yellow procedure. Those who had the opportunity to change drivers during that period had a great deal of time compared to us and I found myself in 21st place in the overall classification, by a considerable margin.”
Benjamin put on a brave face despite the bad luck. Consistently showing himself to be among the fastest on the track, the Belgian threw everything he had into the fight and finally climbed to 11 th place in the overall ranking. « Nous avons aussi terminé 10en Silver Cup et ainsi marqué 1 point pour le championnat »,tentait-il de positiver. « Mais nos adversaires ont quant à eux réalisé un week-end presque parfait. Alors que nous avions 11 longueurs d’avance, nous quittons Misano à la 3place et avec 27 points de retard. »
Although disappointed, Benjamin is certainly not down and out. “Things can change very rapidly,” he says. “But we can no longer afford the slightest mistake and we must hope that the sunshine of success will shine on us in our future endeavours. In less than two weeks, we will be at Zandvoort for the penultimate round of the championship. We will have to aim for victory there to retain any chance of winning the title!”