Spa 24: CR Scuderia midnight report

Midnight has passed at Spa and no-one has turned into a pumpkin yet so we're happy with progress. No.56 now has Rob Bell at the wheel, running in fifth place while 55 is being driven by Tim Mullen in seventh. 2100: It's going dark now so the...

Midnight has passed at Spa and no-one has turned into a pumpkin yet so we're happy with progress. No.56 now has Rob Bell at the wheel, running in fifth place while 55 is being driven by Tim Mullen in seventh.

2100:
It's going dark now so the cars are all running with blazing headlights: white for the GT1 cars and yellow for GT2. The CRS Ferraris have an extra light on top of their aerials so the team can easily spot them in the dark; no.55 has a white light and 56 has blue.

2110:
Tim Mullen comes in for fuel and rejoins.

2115:
Dirk Mueller comes in to hand over no.56 to Andrew Kirkaldy.

CRS has a physio at this race to look after all eight of the drivers. Karl Bickley makes sure they are all as well as they can possibly be throughout the 24 hours by keeping them hydrated, nourished, making sure they sleep between stints, making sure they are wide awake when it's time to go and getting their kit ready for them. He also has a tendency to burst into song at any given moment!

2130:
Kirkaldy is running in seventh place and Mullen is in 10th.

2142:
The safety car has just come out but it is so close to the six-hour mark, when the first points are awarded, that most people elect to stay out on track. When the clock strikes ten, Kirkaldy is in sixth place so receives one championship point for CRS.

2202:
Mullen pits to hand over to Niarchos, the safety car is in and we're racing again.

Metcalfe and Meadows are doing a great job with their weather reporting up on the hill (see left hand photo above).

2224:
Kirkaldy makes a quick stop and rejoins.

The race engineer for the no.56 Ferrari is Eddie Hinckley. Eddie is one of the most knowledgeable engineers in the business; there is very little that Eddie hasn't seen or done. He likes his creature comforts though and when he saw the seat he would be sitting on - for 24 hours - on the pit wall he decided he needed to come up with something better. Well, by better, we mean more comfortable, as it certainly doesn't look good! You can see Eddie's bit of special engineering in the right-hand photo above. So far it is doing the trick as we haven't had any complaints from Eddie.

2235:
Kirkaldy pits again from fifth place after radioing in to say he is having trouble with oversteer. The team check the car over, give him new rubber and he r ejoins.

2240:
Niarchos is forced to pit as his right-hand wing mirror is broken so he can hardly see anything. It might sound simple but not being able to see when GT1 cars are about to fire up the inside of you is a pretty scary proposition.

2247:
Andrea Piccini takes over from Niarchos, with a new door mirror.

"I couldn't see a thing," said Niarchos. "I got hit a couple of times because of it and two GT1 cars actually crashed right next to me and the first thing I knew about it was when they came flying past me with debris going everywhere. If you can't see behind you it is difficult to know when to turn in which is pretty daunting. Once I got out of the groove I decided it was best to hand over to Andrea and let him get on with it."

2335:
Kirkaldy pits to hand over to Bell.

2355:
Piccini comes in for a scheduled stop and rejoins.

0035:
Rob Bell doe s the same but takes wet tyres as it is starting to rain.

0047:
The rain is heavier now so when Piccini comes in to give no.55 to Mullen the team send that car out on wets too.

It's time for a summary of the race so far from Team Manager, Malcolm Swetnam:
"It's full on and flat out!"

The team are all doing a cracking job here at Spa. It's late and everyone is getting tired but they continue to work hard and nobody has lost their sense of humour... yet!

-credit: crscuderia.com

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Dirk Müller , Rob Bell , Tim Mullen , Andrew Kirkaldy