JOS MENTEN WINS TOTAL 24 HOURS OF SPA Following a hard fought battle Jos Menten, together with his team-mates Anthony Kumpen, Mike Hezemans and Kurt Mollekens clocked up his first victory in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. This was in...
JOS MENTEN WINS TOTAL 24 HOURS OF SPA
Following a hard fought battle Jos Menten, together with his team-mates Anthony Kumpen, Mike Hezemans and Kurt Mollekens clocked up his first victory in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. This was in fact the final edition of the Ardennes' endurance race in which the present GT1 cars could compete; however this is not the only reason why this race will be recorded in the annals of racing history. Menten and his cohorts truly revealed themselves as the trendsetters in this 61st edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Up until four hours before the chequered flag they kept up a gruelling pace. Thrilling duels were fought out with the Corvette C6.R of Selleslagh Racing Team and the three Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12, but the Corvette C6.R prepared by the renowned PK Carsport team finally came out on top as winners of this war of attrition!
"Fantastic! An indescribable feeling", a jubilant Menten shouted out as the chequered flag dropped. "On Thursday it took us a while to find the ideal set-up, but once the car was sorted there was no holding us back. Both in the pouring rain as also when we were on a dry track we were the fastest. We were fully aware that with a Corvette C6.R and a homogenous drivers' quartet we had the perfect tools at our disposal, but this has really turned out to be a pure dream scenario. We didn't experience a single problem. Only once did we call in at the pits earlier than scheduled for some additional oil, but apart from that everything was perfect."
Right from the start the Corvette C6.R was running like a Swiss watch and this was to pay off by the end of the race with a great victory. As the flag came down on these 24 Hours of Spa on Sunday afternoon at 16.00hrs the Belgian Corvette had a lead of more than ten laps on its nearest rival. "All evening and night we fought it out with the three Maserati and the SRT Corvette. We didn't yield a single inch and the extremely high pace claimed its toll amongst some of the competitors. The strategy was clear cut: to be as fast and consistent as possible and see where we would be on Sunday midday", the 28 year old driver from Haelen told us.
Even under difficult conditions the Corvette C6.R bearing start number 4 was unapproachable. On a drying track Saturday evening Menten was one of the first to switch to slicks, following which he closed in by half a minute on the leading Maserati of Le Mans-poleman and former F1-driver Stephane Sarrazin. The Frenchman had no answer for the fast laps Menten was clocking up and could only watch as the Corvette C6.R charged past on the Kemmel straight. The Dutchman was constantly the fastest man on the track, to the great delight of his team: "The first hour of my double stint was good, but whilst overtaking I made a small mistake. I spun at the chicane and that cost me some twenty seconds. Luckily I was able to make up the gap and once again get ahead of the Maserati. The second part of my double stint was even better. I was able to build up an excellent lead and this gave the team some additional breathing space."
"I must admit that in the beginning we had some luck with the safety-car", Jos Menten analyses the race. "The safety-car put in an appearance three times whilst we were playing catch-up. Each time the track had been given the all-clear we were able to battle back up to the top, but in the second half of the race we did in fact make up the difference all on our own. We delivered a great battle and the spectators were witness to a worthy last showing of the GT1-era in the 24 Hours of Spa. All that is left for me to say is a big thank you to one all for this fantastic performance. Anthony, Mike and Kurt all performed brilliantly, but that goes for the boys on the pit wall and our technical crew also!"