Pure satisfaction was at the rendezvous!
Coming to the end of a rather lengthy sporting season, Tom Cloet allowed himself one final double rendezvous in Zolder this last weekend, taking in the final round of the Citation Cup incorporated into the FIA-GT championship , as also the Belcar 2007, which as from the beginning of this season was reserved for cars of the GT3 category. On the programme a two hour international GT race at the wheel of the SRT team's Corvette C5-R together with Maxime Soulet, followed by a 125 minutes race, this time at the wheel of the Ferrari F430 Challenge Sport Garage, with the French driver Gilles Vannelet.
Provisionally in second place in this first edition of the Citation Cup, Tom Cloet had every intention of finishing the season on a high note at Zolder. Following on from some pretty solid qualifying sessions, which resulted in the Corvette up amongst some of the top players of the GT1 category, it was Maxime Soulet who took the start of the race, before handing over the relay to Tom Cloet, and then taking over the wheel of the C5-R once again for the last fifteen minutes of the race. A pretty smooth and trouble free run for the SRT team, just missing out on a victory in the Citation Cup, and the top ten overall by a mere 8 minuscule seconds as compared to the lead JMB Maserati. "All I can do is congratulate Maxime, who once again performed some brilliant relays ", Tom Cloet commented after the race. "What were we lacking in order to achieve another victory? Some practice between races, and in my case, a better physical and mental preparation. This is the one and only way in which one can recover the odd tenth here and there, which can make up all the difference near the end of a race. Not being a professional driver, all I can say is that I'm satisfied with the way in which things have worked out here, as also during the entire season in fact ."
And it is quite true that the figures play in favour of Cloet, who has clinched the title of vice-champion in the Citation Cup, having taking part in 6 events, with 3 victories to his name, having twice been on the 2nd tread of the podium as also having registered a top 3. "I would merely like to remind everyone that in 2005 I was competing in the BTCS driving a Toyota Yaris ! And with the exception of a test session at Dijon during the beginning of the year, we have never done any laps between races. When I analyse my lap times I can compare myself to a diesel engine. Performance slowly builds up over a period of time, to such a point that my best laps during a race always come at the end of a stint I'm driving ."
As for the Belcar, Cloet and Vannelet were unfortunate, Tom up in an excellent 6th place overall prior to the Ferrari F430 Sport Garage . coming up against a 4x4 recovery vehicle in its path towing a Porsche! "I must admit that I was scared ", the Belgian driver told us, "because I passed between the safety vehicle and the car being towed! The stretched tow cable lifted the front of my Ferrari by half a metre! Unbelievable! You only come across things like this in national competitions! This incident damaged one of the front blades, not without cutting into a tyre, smashing a wheel rim and damaging the suspension. Gilles took over the wheel but went off track. No luck ."
Having come to the end of this sporting season Tom Cloet can now quietly contemplate the next stage of his career, which will probably pass via the 12 Hours of Sebring as also the 24Hours of Le Mans in 2008. Some pretty prestigious rendezvous which will demand a solid preparation. As for the Citation Cup, this will depend upon opportunities which might arise during the winter or the beginning of spring. In the meanwhile pure satisfaction was at the rendezvous to end off the 2007 campaign..