April 14, 2015 – Black Falcon endured a tough weekend during the opening round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series that was held on the 5.793-kilometer Monza Circuit in Italy on April 12, 2015.
The race weekend got off to a promising start on Saturday, with the #21 PRO Black Falcon Mercedes that is shared between Abdulaziz Turki AlFaisal (KSA), Hubert Haupt (Germany) and Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands) securing the 14th fastest time in the Pre-Qualifying session.
The #18 Black Falcon car that is contesting the season in the Pro-Am class finished the session in 20th overall, with drivers Maro Engel (Germany), Sean Johnston (USA) and Oliver Morley (UK) alternating stints behind the steering wheel.
Pre-Qualifying was preceded by a Free Practice session in which the two Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 racecars were fine-tuned ahead of Sunday’s Qualifying and Race.
Sunday saw a disappointing Qualifying session for the team. The #21 Mercedes was only capable of clocking the 15th fastest time due to heavy traffic on the circuit, but the lap time was omitted after the organizers observed that it was set under red flags – unluckily Buurman missed crossing the line by only a few seconds.
The team appealed the organizer’s decision, but the appeal was rejected and the #21 Black Falcon was forced to start the race from 45th on the grid, making it extremely difficult for the team to finish within the points.
Black Falcon #18 suffered from the same heavy traffic and could only manage the 32nd fastest time.
The #21 and #18 Mercedes’ slowly made their way up the field during Sunday’s race, both making it into the top 20. However, neither car was able to avoid the on-track incidents and both suffered damage during the short 3-hour race, which meant that they were unable to progress beyond 33rd and 38th overall respectively.
It was a turbulent weekend, which started with great promise as the team already made great set-up improvements and were confident of a strong start to the campaign.
The team will be looking to make amends and be back running at the front of the field in the second round in Silverstone on May 9.