Rondet Qualifies No.18 5th in Class for Insight Racing as Jensen Puts the No.19 in the Top-15

Rondet Qualifies No.18 5th in Class for Insight Racing as Jensen Puts the No.19 in the Top-15

HOMESTEAD, Florida, 4 March – Every new race team suffers from teething pains, and Insight Racing is no exception. Teething pains, are a result of growth, a rite of passage toward maturity. In qualifying for tomorrow GRAND-AM Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge – Kia 200, Insight Racing showed just how to work through those teething pains and show some maturity. Nico Rondet qualified the ST Class No. 18 BMW 328i in fifth position while Martin Jensen piloted the GS Class No. 19 BMW M3 to 15th place in its class.

Rondet came out blazing, recording the benchmark lap on his first trip across the finish line. Eventually other cars would eclipse his time, knocking him as low as ninth place. Then, on his seventh lap, he bounced up to third quickest, at which point engineer Steve Dinan called Rondet to the pits in a bid to save the tires for the race. Rondet sat patiently as a spot on the second row appeared to be a just reward for the team effort but in the waning moments, the No.18 was pushed back to the fifth position. Despite being edged back two spots, the result was proof of what the team knew all along – that the No.18 is up to the task.

Rondet’s best effort stopped the clock in 1:32.281 sec., just one-tenth of a second down on the pole time.

“We’ve got a race car on our hands,” said a smiling Rondet. “We’re close to the front and this is a long race, so this is exactly what we needed. If we can stay out of trouble then we can take the fight to the finish.”

The No.19 crew had spent much of the practice sessions earlier in the day resolving a bothersome engine sensor. After they traced the problem and resolved it, the M3 was ready to show its true potential. But, with limited running, driver Martin Jensen had a steep climb ahead. Over four-seconds adrift of the front runners earlier in the day, Jensen made the most of a much-improved machine and erased two and a half seconds of the deficit. By qualifying’s end, Jensen slotted into 15th position, only one and a half seconds from pole, and just half a second outside of the top 10.

“We achieved a lot today despite the issues. Now, I think we are in the window, and we know it’s a better car in race trim than in qualifying,” said Jensen. “To start the session, I knew the first lap on the tires would be the best, so I left a gap to the car in front of me and then we had the session stopped. When we restarted, that lap had to be the one, but I quickly caught up to slower car and had no choice but to press on behind. I had to lift at one point on the lap, and I’m sure that cost me the half-second to the top 10.”

Ultimately, Jensen’s best lap was recorded at 1:27.474 sec.

“I’m very happy because we’ve worked to solve the issues and improve,” said team principal Gibert Lynagh. “We’re not running true qualifying set ups, so our cars are showing their form in race trim and that gives us some reason to look forward to the race tomorrow with a nice level of anticipation.”

The Kia 200 goes green tomorrow at 4:15 PM EST for the two and half hour run into the night. Follow the action live at grand-am.com. The race broadcast is set to air on March 19th on SPEED.

-ends-

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