RACE UPDATE 04:00 THE PROXIMUS 24 HOURS OF SPA Spa-Francorchamps, 30 July 2006: So much for a quiet run into the night! The action hasn't stopped for Scuderia Ecosse but the good news is that both cars are still in the race, currently with...
RACE UPDATE 04:00
THE PROXIMUS 24 HOURS OF SPA
Spa-Francorchamps, 30 July 2006: So much for a quiet run into the night! The action hasn't stopped for Scuderia Ecosse but the good news is that both cars are still in the race, currently with Marino Franchitti in fifth place and Allan Simonsen running in ninth.
Marino Franchitti finished his first stint without any dramas just after 2200hrs and handed over the no. 62 Ferrari, the "Scottish" car, to Andrew Kirkaldy.
Marino Franchitti: "That was really a learning stint for me. I had only had a few laps in the car up until the race -- about 15 in total -- so I was happy that I didn't have any dramas. The car feels ok. Really the only problem out there is the traffic...its ridiculous!"
Kirkaldy joined the race in fifth position and, at the end of a trouble-free first stint, he pitted under the Safety Car ready for his second run. As the fireworks lit up the sky over Spa there were fireworks for Scuderia Ecosse as Kirkaldy was called in for a drive-through penalty for "not complying with the Safety Car procedure". As Kirkaldy exited the pitlane the green light was showing, although it should have been red as the Safety Car was coming through. No racing driver, or indeed any other kind of other driver, would stop at a green light so he went on his way but was punished for his actions.
Once he had taken the drive-through Andrew was on a mission to gain back the time lost. He had an 'off' at turn eight but rejoined and pitted at 0035hrs to hand over to Nathan Kinch for his double stint.
Whilst the Scottish car was having a busy race, the "Le Mans" car of Chris Niarchos was cruising beautifully with a very relaxed Greek/Canadian at the wheel! The car's clutch was fixed at the same time as the driveshaft which is making life easier for the no.63 drivers. After almost two and a half hours in the dark Niarchos was glad to be out of the car but loved every moment of his run.
Chris Niarchos: "That was fun but I did have a few hairy moments. An Aston Martin spun right in front of me and there is a lot of dirt out there now. The biggest problem I had was that my drink bottle wasn't working but if that's as bad as it gets them I'm happy with that!"
Car 63 wasn't about to escape the drama though. Only 20 minutes after Niarchos had handed over to Simonsen, the Dane entered the pits with the front splitter hanging off the car. A sharp object had pierced the front right tyre and, as a result, the splitter was pushed down. Quick repairs were made and the team took the opportunity to give the car a full service before sending Allan on his way for a double stint.
Nathan Kinch pitted at 0300hrs to hand over to Franchitti and go and get some well-earned rest. The young Scot had completed a great double stint and handed the car over in fifth position.
The night is almost over at Spa but the race is only halfway through. There is still a very long way to go!