ONE IN, ONE OUT AT SPA The Spa 24 Hours is into its eighth hour and the no.63 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari is running strongly in seventh place. The no.62 car was higher up the order but exited the race just before...
ONE IN, ONE OUT AT SPA
The Spa 24 Hours is into its eighth hour and the no.63 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari is running strongly in seventh place. The no.62 car was higher up the order but exited the race just before 2200hrs when Tomas Enge went off at the top of Eau Rouge.
16:00: The race starts at Spa under blue skies after heavy showers this morning. The Scuderia Ecosse team have had a busy day after a seemingly innocuous 'off' at the Bus Stop Chicane for Jonny Kane launched the no.62 car in the air over the high Spa kerbs. A huge effort by the team saw the car make it to the end of the pitlane just in time for the race start. Ferrari 63 gets away well at the start from eighth place and Andrew Kirkaldy passes a Porsche to take seventh just a few laps in.
17:00: The order in GT2 is Long, Bruni, Muller, Collard, Ruberti, Pompidou, Kirkaldy. Tim Mullen is making great progress from the back of the field, making his way through the GT3 cars, and is running in 13th place in GT2.
17:06: Kirkaldy brings 63 into the pits to hand over to Tim Sugden.
18:00: Tim Mullen is still making steady progress in 62 and is up to ninth place. Tim Sugden is running seventh.
18:07: Tim Mullen radios in to say that 62's engine is sounding louder than normal. His pace is still blistering though so the team waits until his next scheduled stop to check the car over.
18:20: Tim Sugden pits in 63 to hand over to Chris Niarchos.
"All is well with me. My first stint went according to plan; no real dramas to report. There were a few cars off the track at the end of my stint but this didn't cause me any problems."
18:29: Tim Mullen hands 62 over to Jarek Janis. The team takes this opportunity to have a good look at the exhaust. A crack seems to be the cause of the extra noise Tim reported.
"Considering the trouble we had with this car this morning it is running like a dream. The only problem is the noise. It isn't affecting performance at all so we'll live with it and see how we go."
19:00: Chris Niarchos is in fifth place in 63 and Jarek Janis is running in seventh in 62. The GT2 order is Ortelli, Lieb, Cressoni, Ceccato, Niarchos, Machitski, Janis.
19:02: Chris Niarchos goes off at Les Coombes and reports slight damage to the rear of 63. The safety car comes out.
19:04: Jarek Janis pits for fuel and tyres, making the most of the safety car period, and gains a lap in the process.
19:08: Chris Niarchos gets no.63 back to the pits for repairs to the exhaust and the rear bumper. Andrew Kirkaldy jumps in and rejoins the race after a 10 minute stop.
"It was a mistake on my part. I braked too late going down the hill to Les Coombes. There was a car in the gravel there for a few laps and on this particular lap it was being towed out and this unsighted me and I missed my braking point."
19:32: Andrew Kirkaldy in 63 is the fastest GT2 car on the track. He is in P11 and 4 laps down with a lot of work to do.
19:43: Car 62 is given a one minute stop/go penalty which Andrew Kirkaldy comes in to serve. The penalty was given to Chris Niarchos for his earlier 'off' as it happened under yellow flags.
20:25: Jarek Janis brings in 62 to hand over to Tomas Enge.
"The car feels really good. There was a bit of drizzle falling at the end of my stint so I slowed down for a while. The only problem I had is that it was hard to hear the team over the radio."
21:07: Andrew Kirkaldy pits for fuel and tyres.
21:20: Tomas Enge is running strongly in fifth place as the six-hour mark approaches. Kirkaldy is running in eighth.
21:37: Tomas comes in for a planned stop and rejoins the race.
21:50: Kirkaldy pits to hand over 63 to Tim Sugden.
21:50: Tomas has gone off at the top of Eau Rouge whilst running in fourth place. The race is over for car 62 but the team is relieved to hear that Tomas is unharmed.
"I want to say sorry to the team for going off tonight and ending the race for car 62. I made a mistake at the top of Eau Rouge and couldn't keep hold of the car. Tim (Mullen) did a fantastic job at the start of the race and got us right up into contention. I wanted to continue the good job he started. The crew worked very hard this morning to repair the car after warm up so I am sorry we couldn't get a good result for them."
22:33: Tim Sugden pits for fuel and tyres and heads out for the second half of his double-stint. He is running in eighth place and is 4 seconds a lap faster than the car in P7.
23:45: Tim Sugden has completed his double-stint, putting in a fantastic performance, and handing over the sole Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari to Chris Niarchos in seventh place.
"That was a pretty uneventful run for me. I had no choice but to drive across the debris from Tomas' accident when I first went out so I was a bit concerned that I had picked up a puncture. The tyres were all okay while we were under the safety car but as soon as we started racing again I could feel there was something wrong so I pitted for new rubber."
It's now midnight and the traditional firework display has just taken place at Spa. Scuderia Ecosse is hoping for less fireworks during the run through the night!