Spyker Squadron: Le Mans 24 hours race report
At exactly three o'clock this afternoon the field of 55 prototypes and GT's crossed the finish line. For the first time the green flag was not waved from the Rolex tower at the finish line but at 400 kms above the track from the international space station.
Swiss Andrea Chiesa started the race in the #94 Speedy Racing Team Spyker C8. After an hour in the race he moved up two positions and ran in a tenth position in the GT2 class. In the other car, the #85 SNORAS Spyker Squadron car, it was Scotsman Peter Dumbreck to kick off the 24 hour race. He was also able to able to win a few positions at the beginning of the race and climbed up to a seventh position at 16:00.
Both regularly returned to the box for stops to refuel and to fit fresh Michelin rubber. After both Chiesa and Dumbreck completed their double stint Benjamin Leuenberger and Ralf Kelleners took over. Benjamin rejoined in eight position, just behind Ralf who ran in a seventh position with the #85.
At 17:40 the number #94 Speedy Racing Team car returned to the pit for a normal stop to refuel the car. Benjamin could rejoin the field in the same position - eight in GT2 class. His stop was followed by Ralf who also came in for refuelling. He rejoined in a seventh position. According to the timing data the #85 stop was the quickest so far in the GT2 class.
Both cars ran like a clock until minutes after 18:00 Ralf called the team over the radio that he had to return to the pit box. Just after the Porsche Curves he got a problem with the engine. He could return to the box but after a quick inspection by the mechanics the car was retired from the race.
Shortly after Ralf's car was retired Benjamin also reported a problem with the #94 car. He got a ‘low voltage' warning and returned to the box to change a broken alternator. It took about 10 minutes to fix the problem but he is back out in eight position.
Just after the 19:00 mark Iradj Alexander took over from Benjamin Leuenberger. He started his stint with a fresh set of tires and a full tank. At ten before eight he returned to the box with the same low voltage problem. Both the alternator and battery were now replaced and after ten minutes he was back out.
Half an hour later he complained that he lost torque and speed. The team decided to get him in to check the car's data but before he could make it to the pit box he stopped at the track after the second chicane. Iradj could not restart and the car has been officially retired.