31/05/18

Blomqvist ready for 1000 kilometres of Paul Ricard

Tom Blomqvist is set for an atmospheric drive into the night at the third of the season’s five Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup races at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, in the south of France.

The 1000-km race is special in two respects: it lasts for six hours with the field of 51 GT3 cars driving into the night and it starts on Saturday afternoon, coming to a conclusion just before midnight. Last year, Tom joined Markus Paltalla in the #98 BMW M6 GT3 from ROWE RACING but ran into problems when they had two punctures whilst running in the podium places.

The 5.791-kilometre circuit has been resurfaced in preparation for the return of Formula 1 to Paul Ricard for the first time since 1990, and Tom has already had the opportunity to check out the new asphalt during WEC preseason testing. As well as Tom, ROWE RACING got to grips with the new conditions in the preseason Blancpain GT Series official test in March.

The driver line-up for Paul Ricard features Tom joining BMW works driver Jens Klingmann from Germany and 26-year-old Australian driver Chaz Mostert, who is normally found in the popular Australian V8 Supercars series.

Tom is excited about the potential the team has this year and hopes the team can record a good result.

I’m really looking forward to this event, it’s also special driving into the night. I did the race last year with ROWE and it’s a great race at a great track. I have strong teammates joining me in the car this year and we were up there battling for the win last year so I’m hoping we can fight for a top result.”

Hans-Peter Naundorf, team principal ROWE RACING, is feeling confident heading to Paul Ricard.

“At Le Castellet this weekend, we want to build on last year’s good performance, as we had led the race until a technical problem occurred. However, we are all starting from scratch this season as the circuit has been completely resurfaced. The new asphalt has a high level of grip and the tyres hardly show any wear and don’t deteriorate suddenly. We coped well with that during the tests, but so did our competitors. We have struck a good balance but our BMW M6 GT3 struggles on the two long straights.”

The race weekend in the south of France starts with the free practice session on Friday, at 09:50. This is followed by pre-qualifying at 14:40, and both sessions last for 90 minutes. After a one-hour qualifying session at 08:40 on Saturday, the six-hour, 1000-km race starts at 16:45.