Spa: Marino Franchitti race report

The clouds that hung over Spa Francorchamps for the second round of the LMS Championship this weekend extended some of their gloom over the B-racing Lamborghini team too. Friday's two practice sessions were difficult without the presence...

The clouds that hung over Spa Francorchamps for the second round of the LMS Championship this weekend extended some of their gloom over the B-racing Lamborghini team too.

Friday's two practice sessions were difficult without the presence of Bernd Seibold, the team's engineer, who had sadly suffered a family bereavement earlier in the week, but his presence back on track in Spa on Saturday helped the team in their set-up procedures.

Marino was to qualify the car on Saturday afternoon. The track was damp, but also drying. Marino's preference had been to run on slicks, but intermediate tyres were called for and despite all his best efforts, 6th in GT1 class was as much as Marino could take from the car, "I am disappointed because I think I could have done better on slicks" said Marino, "But hindsight is a wonderful thing and as a team we made our decision at the time and I gave it my best shot; you can never rely on the weather here, it certainly keeps you on your toes".

The race began at 12.30hrs local time today under very overcast conditions. Benjamin Leuenberger took the wheel of the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT for the start of the 1,000km race with Norbert Walchhofer lined up for the middle stint and Marino Franchitti set to take the third and final stint to the chequered flag. But on the rolling start a mechanical failure on one of the prototypes, which initially saw it leave the track only to bounce back into the path of the rest of the field, caused total carnage. The Safety Car was immediately deployed as the slowing traffic fell into place behind it. However two very slow laps of the circuit behind the Safety Car, which saw Eau Rouge taken at around 5mph, was to take it's toll on the Lamborghini on the very first of those two laps. "The engine simply overheated" said Marino, "the Safety Car was much too slow and it was just too much for our engine. It's a huge disappointment for everyone, and now a red flag has been thrown we won't even get to take the restart. It's all over even before we could get started" concluded Marino.

It will be two months before the B-racing Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT will take to the circuit again in the LMS Championship. The third round will take place in Germany at the Nurburgring on 16th July.

-kwa

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Marino Franchitti , Benjamin Leuenberger , Norbert Walchhofer