Spa: Zytek race report

The opening laps of yesterday's 1,000km of Spa race indicated great promise for the latest Ginetta-Zytek prototypes. Within seven laps 2003 Le Mans winner Guy Smith had fought his way up to fourth overall while Olivier Pla took his LMP2 GZ09S into...

The opening laps of yesterday's 1,000km of Spa race indicated great promise for the latest Ginetta-Zytek prototypes. Within seven laps 2003 Le Mans winner Guy Smith had fought his way up to fourth overall while Olivier Pla took his LMP2 GZ09S into first in class within the opening laps. The Frenchman also posted fastest lap in his category.

The latest prototypes from the Repton factory were not, though, to taste success on this occasion. Yorkshireman, Guy, in the Team LNT entry, fell back towards the end of his first stint as his tyres started to go off. His power assisted steering then tripped when he was forced to put on full lock to avoid an errant LMP2 car. Time was then lost as the steering was reset in the pits.

Robbie Kerr, who took over the car from Guy, was also out of luck with a suspension problem, which also necessitated costly time in the pits. From then on the team saw the event as an ideal opportunity to gain experience for the forthcoming Le Mans 24-hour race with owner, Lawrence Tomlinson taking over the wheel towards the end of the race. The car finished 18th overall.

Olivier Pla's great drive was brought to a halt after 10 laps when one of the LMP1 diesel Audis, which was just ahead of him, spun at the La Source hairpin. The result was damage to the Ginetta-Zytek's front suspension and a lengthy spell in the pits. The Quifel-ASM team was able to continue with Miguel Amaral at the wheel, too far back to be in contention for a reasonable result.

Other Zyteks took up the challenge. Peter Hardman, starting from the pit lane following a practice accident, was in eight place overall by the thirteenth lap. He was still in ninth place when he handed over to Nick Leventis. A battery problem that occurred after Danny Watts had taken the wheel dropped the car further back, its final result being 19th overall.

In the LMP2 class, the GAC Racing Zytek 07S, driven initially by Philippe Peter, was up to second place, and 10th overall by lap 25, moving into the lead during a round of pit stops. Despite falling back to fourth, Philipe was back in the lead by lap 52, a position he was to again lose as the pit stop strategies panned out. The little team's gallant attempt came to an end with a puncture late in the race. It remained for the fifth of the Zyteks, the 07S of Fernando Rees and Juan Barazi to finish as the first representative of the make, fourth in class. The other Zytek-engined car, the WR driven by Tristan Gommendy and the Salini brothers, was sixth in class before being involved in an accident with one of the LMP1 cars. It eventually finished ninth in its category, one place ahead of the Quifel-ASM car.

The Ginetta-Zytek and Zytek runners now look forward to the Le Mans 24-hours on June 13 and 14 with the knowledge that their cars have the speed to perform well at the classic French race.

-credit: zytek

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Guy Smith , Robbie Kerr , Tristan Gommendy , Olivier Pla , Miguel Amaral , Fernando Rees , Peter Hardman , Danny Watts
Teams Team LNT