Quaife denied deserved podium at Spa
Kent-based racing driver Phil Quaife was denied a maiden podium finish in the prestigious Le Mans Series during last weekend’s second round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, when co-driver Klaas Hummel was the innocent victim of an accident with just six minutes remaining.
Quaife produced a fine display in qualifying to put the CRS Racing Ferrari 430 he shares with Dutchman Hummel and fellow Brit Adam Christodoulou third on the grid in the competitive LM GTE Am category for the six-hour race at the iconic Formula 1 venue.
At the start, Phil immediately dived into second place and chased the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR of Nicolas Armindo in the opening stages before moving ahead of the Frenchman for the class lead prior to his first pit stop.
During a very strong double-stint, Quaife had opened up a 40-second lead to his closest rival as he handed over to Christodoulou just after one-third distance. Christodoulou maintained the team’s advantage during his time in the car before passing driving duties to Hummel, who was running strongly in third and closing quickly on the second-placed AF Corse Ferrari with just a couple of laps remaining.
Unfortunately, with the podium in sight, Hummel was left with nowhere to go when he came across a slow-moving Formula Le Mans prototype car that span in front of him and contact was made. Substantial damage to the front of the car meant Klaas was unable to complete the final two laps and the team were therefore unclassified in the final standings.
Phil Quaife: “It’s really disappointing because we were definitely in line for third place and Klaas was catching the AF Corse car so quickly that second was a real possibility. The team did a great job and we all deserved a podium. The car ran faultlessly throughout the six hours while our pit stops were seamless. We know we’ve got the pace in the car to be finishing on the podium regularly and we’ll be looking to prove it in the remaining rounds this season.
“We had to manage the tyres in the mid-afternoon heat and couldn’t push too hard. But, despite the rubber suffering a big drop off in performance towards the end of my time in the car, I was still able to maintain a big lead to the Porsche before handing over to Adam.”
Phil will return to Le Mans Series action when the endurance championship resumes on 1-3 July at the former home of the San Marino GP, Imola.
-source: phil quaife pr