A top 6 to conclude the Apocalypse for Beretta, Gavin, Vosse and Franchi
The least one can say is that the 2007 edition of the 24 Hours of Spa will forever remain engraved in our memory! As forecast, the climatic conditions gave all competitors a hard time, with the rain bucketing down on the Ardennes circuit various times during the race, forcing the organisers to call on the Safety-Car on several occasions in order to reduce the risk of serious accidents.
Having qualified on the third row of the grid, the Corvette C6.R of Alphand Aventures with Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, Vincent Vosse and Greg Franchi started off the race in full throttle with the Brit, Oliver Gavin, official Corvette driver at Le Mans and in the American Le Mans Series, heading up the pack during the first hour of the race, fighting it out with Wendlinger and Fassler. Everything was going to plan up until the moment when Olivier Beretta became involved in a slight brush, followed by driving over some debris on the track at the Source hairpin, which resulted in a flat and forced to team to work on the car, with fortunately not losing too much time. With a highly homogenous team the #3 power monster easily held its own amongst the top runners, and were definitely candidate for finishing up high in the rankings ...
In the early hours of the morning, around 03:30hrs a ball and socket joint of the throttle was to cost the pristine white Corvette some 20 minutes. "In all we lost 11 laps, just as we were amongst the fastest of the pack ", Vincent Vosse explained."This minor problem relegated us to 6th overall, without much hope of recovering our delay. And yet during the night our car was as fast as that of Lamy..."
With the arrival of some very heavy rainfalls the second part of the race saw the Safety-Car put in various appearances, hindering the drivers of the Corvette Alphand Aventures for maintaining their high race rhythm ... "On top of that we were losing time during refuelling ", Greg Franchi continued, "due to an apparently slower fuel pump. And in one single race the team had to assimilate all the subtleties and specifics of the FIA-GT championship, but it should be said that everyone worked really hard. On a personal front, even though I was not happy with my first stint, after that everything went far better, as can be seen from my lap times, not only in the dry but the wet also. At the end of the race, not having any radio communication anymore I was become quite relieved even though I didn't have the impression that I was forcing things in the rain ..."
Even though quite a few competitors made some serious errors during this entire treacherous race, Beretta, Gavin, Vosse and Franchi handled these 24 Hours of Spa perfectly, to such an extent that had it not been for the few technical problems and a dose of bad luck they could have been in for a victory. But this year taking the chequered flag with a car in perfect running order was already quite an exploit; such is the on-going reputation of this event ...
And to conclude we can announce that the Alphand Aventures team will be back in the Belgian Ardennes in three weeks time, to compete in the 1000 Km of Spa, 4th round of the Le Mans Series 2007. A competition where this French team can boast its position as leader of the GT1 rankings; and with this very same Corvette C6.R.