Palttala’s 2005 - & 2006
Joost Custers met Markus Palttala to discuss
the Finn’s 2005 season – and prospects for 2006. The
first image shows Markus in front of the Gothic Town Hall at Leuven,
in Belgium - the second one of Markus is in a local bar.
how can you sum up your experiences on the track in 2005?
Well, it’s difficult to say. I did the full
Belcar and LMES series, together with the Spa 24 hours, the Spa
12 hours in BTCS etc, so I had certainly enough racing kilometres.
I shared my cars with gentlemen drivers, which was a must for me
to get the drives and I’m thankful for the chances I had from
both Lefort / Lambert (Porsche 996 GT3-RSR in LMES) and Leo Van
Sande (Porsche 996 GT2 Biturbo in Belcar).
results, if ever an endurance racer can use this term, were good.
I showed in LMES what I’m capable of. Certainly the races
in both England and Germany were highlights. I managed to take the
Gordon Porsche from the middle of the GT2 grid to the front and
was among the fastest Porsche drivers. But as I said, while sharing
the car with good gentlemen drivers, it remains impossible to beat
full professionals such as Marc Lieb or Xavier Pompidou. But I’m
still glad I had the opportunity. Finally we finished third overall
in the rankings, still a great result for the first season at an
In Belcar it
was the same story. I led some races and took a pole but there was
some bad luck too: without mechanical problems we could have won
the Zolder 24 hours. Altogether, I’m happy with the past racing
season, but results sometimes were a bit disappointing.
about 2006 then?
Well I’m still an employee of PSI and so my
future lies within the team. I’ve been looking around in wintertime,
to explore whether there were any opportunities to go racing in
DTM, ALMS or Grand-Am, but at this point I think I will continue
with PSI. We’re very close to a deal for 2006 combining a
very attractive program with a commercial responsibility within
the team and this prospect, honestly, pleases me very much.
are the plans for PSI?
I could easily
answer that nothing is confirmed yet, but I won’t. PSI will
be active in different championships on different levels. Let’s
start on top. As we managed to acquire a Corvette C5-R, the ex-Pacific
car, and a C6-R, PSI will be present again in international championships.
is important for PSI and it is one of the goals of our new co-owner,
Phillipe Tillie. He wants to bring PSI back to an international
level of racing.
The choice between FIA-GT and Le Mans Series isn’t
really made yet, but we will do the latter with at least one Corvette.
The driver pairing is not 100% sure but we’re close to a deal
with drivers who raced for PSI in 2005.
In FIA GT everything remains possible, but as we
will also do the FFSA GT and Belcar, it’s maybe a better solution
to focus on one international championship.
We also hope to be on the Le Mans 24 hours starting
grid, but an entry at Le Mans is not definite.
Last but not least, PSI will compete in the Spa 24 hours with both
At a national level, there is a good chance to see
different cars in the FFSA-GT. The Corvette is a possibility but
the Porsche GT2 is another and maybe a combination of both.
In Belcar, the
situation depends on the confirmation of the rulebook and the calendar.
Normally we will continue with our pair of Porsche GT2s: Bouvy and
Menten will drive together with me and somebody else. The decision
of who drives with whom is still open.
also be two more GT2 Biturbos in Belcar. One is the car I drove
last year. The Thiers brothers will drive it with some technical
assistance from us. The second car is another story. JMT bought
the car from Noury Compétion in France. It’s one of
the older cars and we have nothing to do with it anymore.
will be your role with the team?
Myself, I will
combine probably an international and national program within the
PSI team, the series won’t differ much from last year. Once
I can provide the details, dailysportscar will
certainly be informed.
and good luck.