Modell endures difficult opening weekend in Blancpain Endurance Series

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Devon Modell came through a trying weekend in the opening round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series at Autodromo Nazionale Monza to finish 12th in the Pro-Am class at the wheel of his Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 (11-12 April). 

The Bronze test on Saturday (11 April) was the first opportunity for drivers to familiarise themselves with the iconic Italian circuit, and Modell completed a total of 28 faultless laps to record a best time of 1m49.950s and finish the session as the fastest of eight BMW runners in 12th.

During pre-qualifying later that day, gearbox temperature issues hampered vital running, putting the Barwell Motorsport-run Ecurie Ecosse squad on the back foot, before two red flags during Sunday (12 April) morning’s qualifying limited the team’s mileage.

Nevertheless, Modell went 11th quickest with a time of 1m49.906s, before ultimately qualifying 37th overall and 17th in the Pro-Am class with a combined time of 1m48.942s.

The 24-year old was elected to start the race and, with 58 cars entered for the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series, it was always going to be a spectacular affair and Modell had to take evasive action moments after the start, when a puncture for the sister Team Russia by Barwell BMW Z4 at Curva Grande forced Modell wide into the gravel after being shunted from behind.

Not to be deterred, the Maidstone-based driver returned to the track and, bar a dusty cockpit, was unscathed as the Safety Car made an appearance, neutralising the field and allowing Modell to regroup.

Extracting the highest amount of performance from the Barwell-run machine, Modell ran a faultless 60-minute stint in searing Italian spring temperatures, trying to catch his rivals while also being mindful of faster traffic.

Modell turned spectator for the final two hours as Alasdair McCaig and Oliver Bryant pushed on to bring the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 home in 34th overall and 12th in the Pro-Am class.

“It was a difficult weekend and I think we got the best out of the car,” said Modell. “With so many entries, it was really busy and difficult to find a clear lap during practice and qualifying. You would drop back from someone to allow yourself a clear run, only to catch them again moments later as they tried the same thing. The car felt great and the whole Barwell Motorsport team did fantastic job all weekend.

“We were able to go quicker than we did at the test here at Monza earlier in the year, so we are moving in the right direction. The car should be better suited to Silverstone next month, so fingers crossed we will return to the podium. Onwards and upwards.”

The Blancpain Endurance Series will resume on British soil at Silverstone Circuit next month (23-24 May).

For more information on Devon Modell and his racing activities, please follow @Devon_Modell on Twitter.