Monday, 20 May 2013
The 2000 World Endurance Championship winning team of Peter Linden and Stephene Mertens reforms for next weekend's 2 x 2hrs race at Mettet. The event runs over the weekend of 1st/2nd June, with an afternoon race on each day,on the recently revamped Ardennes circuit in southern Belgium.
In 2000, these two, with Warwick Nowland, stamped their authority on a fiercely competitive season. After seeing off the factory entries, the main competition, as expected was the superfast and reliable Kawasaki of GMT 94. Despite Phase One Endurance scoring podium places at 3 of the 6 races, it was GMT that pushed them to a down to the wire battle at the Bol d'Or. And what a battle; both teams fought for 15 hrs for the podium on one of those dank misty Magny Cours weekends. As the advantage went from one team to another the night fight was first broken by Linden, and not in a good way!.Whilst pushing hard to close the gap between 3rd and 4th he fell, not badly but badly enough to drop two places after repairs. With such a competitive field it looked like the team would struggle to make up, with only 9 hrs remaining; but with luck swinging evenly, it was now GMT's turn and this time it was certainly big trouble. It was mechanical.They got it back to the box and to the uninitiated (not that there were many of those at 06.00 on a Sunday morning) it looked minor, but to those who looked closely, the rod sticking out of the front told the real story. Game over;its endurance after all. ! Six out of six for Phase One - what a season.
So, Mertens and Linden back in Belgium together after all these years, what an exciting prospect...they were 2nd at the Spa 24hrs last time and Mertens won for Phase One at Mettet last year. Who knows what next weekend will deliver - in addition to lots of fun of course.
Mettet is 3hrs from Calais, you really have no excuses. !!