Spa Race Report

A challenging weekend at Spa came good in the end...

A challenging weekend at Spa came good in the end…

Our longest Britcar trip of the season started with 2 punctures on the way over for the lorry, arriving at 4:00am, then not being able to get into some of our accommodation the following evening!!  The testing went well but Manuel had a slight off at the top of the Kemel straight resulting in a damaged rear silencer, wing and rear boot lid. Rod, Jan and Jay arrived for the afternoon test but on old tyres, their times were not as quick as they’d expected. That night we set about repairing the No. 41 car and getting the cars ready for qualifying the next day.

Friday arrived, the sun was shinning, the mood in the team was good and we were all looking forward to qualifying. Jay went out first to set a qualifying time on new tyres. On his second hot lap with a 2.36.2 he was quickest in class and faster than last year so he came in and let Rod and Jan complete their compulsory laps.  Javier and Manuel decided to qualify on a used set of tyres to save the new ones for the race. They both completed there 3 laps but Javier wasn’t happy with his time of 2.38 so new tyres were fitted and he went out again for a flying lap. Unfortunately his best lap was stopped by a red flag which ended the session. Looking at the data afterwards he could of beaten Jay’s time had he completed the lap, but this weekend luck was not on their side. The Final qualifying results were in and Jay lost out to ‘pole in class’ by another 996 (Jim Geddie) but had an outstanding lap leaving him in P9 on the grid. Javier and Manuel finished 4th in class and 15th overall.

The cars were checked over and re-prepped for the 3 hour race. Javier and Manuel’s repair had done the job so we were all looking forward to the big event. The biggest challenge now was what the weather was going to throw at us for the Saturday evening night race.
Saturday was another scorcher with no sign of the rainstorms that were promised. The cars were ready and waiting to leave the awning when the heavens opened. Now decision time…do we leave for the grid on slicks or wets? We left the decision as long as possible and finally decided both cars are going on wets. On the grid for a short while the rain stopped and the decision of the tyres was discussed in length. It turned out to be the right decision as the rain came again as the race started.

As the cars left the grid for the green flag lap a call on the radio from Jan “I have no wipers!” Having worked the whole lap to the grid they decided to strip the thread on the wiper arm as he left leaving no time for a repair, luckily we had treated the screen with rainex but his vision was dramatically reduced.

 The lights went green for the start of the race, just as they had started a Mosler lost control at the top of Eau Rouge casing mayhem for the rest of the grid.  Jan got through ok but Javier ran into the back of the Marcos that had braked hard to avoid the carnage in front of him. Initially things looked ok just some slight bumper damage but the soft spot on the Porsche is its front radiators. A long safety car session followed keeping a sharp eye on his water temp, things looked ok. The safety car came in and we were racing again but unfortunately Javier’s water pressure rose again the damaged water system lost all its water and his race was over.
Jan on the other hand struggled on with very poor vision until we were able to pit early for Rod and see if we could rectify the wiper situation. The stop went well and we managed to tighten the wiper linkage enough for the wiper to work. A few laps later Rod was on the radio “I have no wipers again!!” We couldn’t afford anymore time in the pits so Rod dug deep and put in an outstanding stint. He still had no wiper but his lap times were getting better and better before long he was making good progress up the timing screen and lapping with the best in our class. The weather again started to dry but the track stayed wet. We decided to leave Rod in the car for a longer sting to see if the weather would dry enough to get Jay onto slicks.
The time came for Rod to pit, but the track still wasn’t dry enough for slicks so we topped up the fuel and sent Jay on his way. Rod had done an outstanding stint but Jay still had some work to do. He left the pit lane P4 in class with old wets and a drying track. He had to look after his wets as much as possible to be in with a chance. Before long he had picked off the Aston in front of him but there was a large gap to the Red Bull Lotus that was running 3rd in class. Luck came our way as another safety car bunched up the grid leaving Jay about 8 seconds behind the Lotus and his lap times had been constantly quicker. We were soon running out of time but Jay was catching up. The Marcos in front of the Lotus was slowing and within the last 2 laps both Jay and the Lotus passed the Marcos, then Jay passed the Lotus in the final laps his tyres were on there last legs but he managed to make it stick! A great finish to the race and another podium place with 2nd in class and 8th overall. Hopefully next time Javier and Manuel get a podium alongside Rod, Jan and Jay.
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