THE FINAL HOURS AT SPA
The no.63 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari, in the hands of Andrew Kirkaldy, crossed the line at Spa in sixth place at 1600hrs today, after 24 hours of racing in extremely difficult conditions. Along with Chris Niarchos and Tim Sugden, the Scot raced hard right until the end of the race, snatching the sixth place finish with just 20 minutes of the race remaining.
09:55: It's the final leg of the Spa 24 Hours and Andrew Kirkaldy is running in fifth place in torrential rain! A Porsche going off at Eau Rouge prompts another safety car outing which is timely as Kirkaldy is reporting that the conditions are worse than at the 2003 race, famous for its atrocious weather.
10:00: If anything the rain is getting worse.
10:07: Kirkaldy moves up to fourth place due to the fourth-placed Porsche going off a few laps earlier. He radios in to say that the conditions are so bad he is aquaplaning, even along the straight in second gear.
10:17: The safety car comes in but not for long as there is a car off at the pit lane exit.
10:45: The safety car is still out as Andrew pits for more fuel.
11:09: Andrew comes in to hand over to Tim Sugden. The rain has just about stopped so a few laps later the safety car comes in and the race is on again.
12:00: The GT2 order is Malucelli, Long, Edwards, Sugden, Pompidou, Ruberti. Or rather Porsche, Porsche, Porsche, Ferrari, Porsche, Ferrari.
12:10: Tim comes in for a scheduled pitstop and rejoins the race in fourth position.
13:00: Tim radios in to report that there is an unidentified problem with the 63 Ferrari.
13:03: Tim pits to hand over to Andrew and the team quickly check the car over for anything obviously wrong. Nothing is found so Kirkaldy joins the race.
13:21: He is soon back in the pits though, reporting the same problem. The car is pulled into the garage so the team can take a proper look. There is a problem with the gearbox and lengthy repairs are required.
14:26: The safety car is still out so the team isn't losing too many laps during the repairs.
14:31: The safety car is in. The race is back on.
14:45: Kirkaldy rejoins the race in seventh place, with just over a hour to fight for sixth place
15:15: The GT2 order is Collard, Narac, Machitski, Pompidou, Case, Tenchini, Kirkaldy. Porsche, Porsche, Porsche, Porsche, Ferrari, Ferrari, Ferrari. Kirkaldy is just 59 seconds behind sixth place now and gaining fast.
15:28: The gap is now just 32 seconds.
15:39: The gap is less than four seconds.
15:42: Kirkaldy is through, overtaking Tenchini in the no.70 Ferrari, for sixth place.
16:00: Kirkaldy takes the chequered flag in sixth place in the no.63 Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari.
"We had a great result today considering the high attrition rate. The team did a stellar job in frustrating conditions. I was pleased with my own performance as I was fast yesterday and today and only cautious during the night. I had a lot of fun!"
"That was a really great effort by the whole team. The gearbox ran like a dream once the guys had made the repairs. I really enjoyed the final hour of the race as I enjoy hunting down the guy ahead and challenging for position, especially when it's successful. We were fast for the whole race, it's just a shame we didn't make it to the podium."
"I really enjoyed racing with Chris and Andrew and the whole Scuderia Ecosse team. I couldn't believe it when we had the problem with the gearbox at such a late stage of the race. I had just been thinking to myself how well we were doing! It was good to be back in a GT car, especially at a great circuit like Spa, so thanks to all the team for a great weekend."
Stewart Roden, Team Principal:
"I think the guys deserved a lot better result today for the effort they put in; they all made a brilliant effort. We salvaged sixth after losing over an hour with the gearbox problem. All three drivers in no.63 did a great job, especially Andrew when he was chasing sixth at the end. It was a shame that no.62 crashed out last night. We're not entirely sure what happened there and we haven't had the opportunity to see the car yet as it has been in parc ferme since the accident. All in all it's a shame to come away with so little after everyone worked so hard."