LE MANS
Le Mans Qualifying
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14/06/2001
 
Anthony Kumpen
Future Perfect
 
Stars of the past, stars of the present and stars of the future all gather over Le Mans week. One potential star of the future is 22 year old Belgian driver Anthony Kumpen in the #56 Paul Belmondo Chrysler Viper.

After five successful seasons in the Belcar championship, Kumpen has hit the ground running on the international stage. Several strong runs in the FIA GT championship this season have included a podium place at Silverstone last month.

How was he finding his first time at the biggest GT race on the planet?

"It's a great track and a very nice atmosphere. I never visited the race as a fan so the first time I ever saw Le Mans was the test weekend. It's good to be racing against many of the drivers I have enjoyed watching through the years, like Herbert and Brundle"

So any heroes amongst them? "Well my all time hero, Jacky Ickx, is here of course and we are seeing quite a lot of him as his daughter (Vanina) is in the other (Belmondo) car."

So what about the future for this driver who has raced GT cars since the age of sixteen in 1994? "Well I hope that next season I can combine a season of FIA GTs with some sports prototype racing, perhaps in the A/ELMS or the FIA Sportscar Championship."

So does the single seater career path hold any attractions?

"I'm enjoying GT racing very much but wouldn't count out any way forward. There are a huge number of single seater series. The budgets are often difficult to justify against the coverage that you receive but who knows? I am testing a new single seater Reynard Chrysler next week at Zandvoort, but there are no firm plans to go down that route."

As for the race this weekend, Anthony was looking for a fast consistent pace.

"We have carbon brakes on the car for the first time this week and have been spending all of our time getting the set up right. We don't need to get involved in a fight for GTS pole, it's a long race. We saw already that one of the Corvettes had an accident whilst trying hard and Bouchut (Larbre Viper) was using the kerbs a little too much and has had problems as a result."

Race prediction? "I am hoping for a podium and if we keep to the right race pace we can certainly achieve this. I think we will see a (GTS) podium with two Vipers and a Corvette by the finish."









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