Corvette C5-R PK Carsport concludes these terrifying 24 Hours of Spa with another podium!
Even though the various rounds of the FIA-GT championship are normally held over 2 hours, this particular reference at an international level is far more substantial: the 24 Hours of Spa. And to take on this highlight of the season in the best possible manner the PK Carsport team decided to play their "United 4 Belgium" card, entering its traditional Corvette C5-R with an impressive foursome of Belgian drivers comprised out of obviously Anthony Kumpen and Bert Longin, but also Kurt Mollekens a nd Fred Bouvy.
Having clocked up 8th best time during qualifying Anthony Kumpen was pretty optimistic . "We were fully aware that we didn't have the potential to take it on over one lap against some of the more recent cars, but you'll see that after two hours of racing I'm pretty sure we'll be up amongst the leaders of the pack. The C5-R is still the ideal car to take on such an endurance event ."
It was Bert Longin who took the start, swiftly moving up from 8th into 6th place and holding his position just behind the leaders. Kumpen took over for his double stint clocking up some excellent lap times which soon led to the PK Carsport Corvette finding itself.in the lead! "This is exactly the timing we had scheduled, and on top of that with a forty second lead over the rest of the pack ", the driver from Limburg smilingly remarked.
Around 21:30hrs matters took a turn for the worse for the Corvette, with a faulty cable in the brake system, resulting in an oil leak. A problem which cost the #4 power beast between 2 to 3 laps. In fact exactly the same difference which would separate them from victory when the chequered flag came down. "We handled everything perfectly after that, registering some great lap times in the dry ", Bert Longin explained, "and then the heavens suddenly opened up. I have to admit that it took us two relays to work out the ideal set-up in these wet conditions, especially the tyre pressures, but once we had the car running perfectly the lap times came down again. The various Safety-Car procedures obviously didn't help us out, but in these torrential conditions it's difficult not to make a mistake."
Notwithstanding the various traps several other competitors fell into, and some pretty reputable ones, Kumpen, Longin, Mollekens and Bouvy managed to avoid all the obstacles to take on an excellent duel with the Maserati #2, driven amongst others by Christian Montanari. A battle to the death which turned to the advantage of PK Carsport, that finally and brilliantly clinched 3rd place overall . "This event honestly turned into a 24 hour sprint", Kurt Mollekens declared. "And to top it all we had to contend with this atrocious weather. The Spa track was really dangerous, mainly due to aquaplaning. But I reckon that the entire team got through it with flying colours, as usual ." And Fred Bouvy added his comments: "We experienced a few minor problems, but that's racing. We had told everyone that we would meet up on the podium, and that's exactly what we did!"
And Anthony Kumpen summarised these 24 Hours as follows . "A podium is great, but there's still an inkling of disappointment. Had it not been for the brake problem we were well in to claim an overall victory. The two leading cars didn't experience the slightest mechanical problem, the only thing making the difference and slowing them was finding the ideal trajectory at times. In fact that was the key to success . But all the same finishing 3rd; having started from an 8th place is a pretty good operation ."
A final word regarding the disqualification at Oschersleben, which the PK Carsport team has no intention of giving up on at this present time. "Our lawyer took advantage of this weekend to gather some additional information ", Bert Longin explained, "and we are now heading for the Civil Courts. Our objective is clear cut: to recover the 10 points of our win in Germany ."