The CRS Ferraris have finished the 2008 Total 24 Hours of Spa in fourth and sixth places. The 55 car of Chris Niarchos, Tim Mullen, Andrea Piccini and Gordon Shedden took fourth and the 56 Ferrari of Andrew Kirkaldy, Rob Bell, Dirk Mueller and...
The CRS Ferraris have finished the 2008 Total 24 Hours of Spa in fourth and sixth places. The 55 car of Chris Niarchos, Tim Mullen, Andrea Piccini and Gordon Shedden took fourth and the 56 Ferrari of Andrew Kirkaldy, Rob Bell, Dirk Mueller and James Sutton came home in sixth. Finishing in the top six, in fact finishing at all, in its first 24 hour race is a good result for CR Scuderia. This is how the final hours panned out...
Rob Bell pits to take on fuel for the remainder of his double stint and 25 minutes later Tim Mullen follows suit.
After a trouble-free run, Bell comes in to hand over to Andrew Kirkaldy. At this point the 55 car is in fourth place and 56 is in seventh.
It's time for Chris Niarchos to rejoin the race so Mullen comes in to hand over to him.
Kirkaldy has been on the radio complaining of an ill-handling car. It turns out that one of his tyres has a suspect valve and the tyre is steadily deflating. It eventually let go at Blanchimont so Kirkaldy didn't have too far to go to get back to the pits.
"I would prefer it if it hadn't happened at the fastest part of the circuit," said Kirkaldy. "But it wasn't a big drama. I really enjoyed that run and I want to get back out there!"
No.56 has moved up to sixth place as the Trackspeed Porsche has dropped down the order.
Dirk Mueller has taken over the wheel of no.56 and Andrea Piccini joins him on the track in no.55. Both drivers complete trouble-free double stints.
Mueller is in and Bell is out for a double stint in no.56, his last run of this 24 hour race.
Piccini pits to hand over to Shedden who completes his final stint before Chris Niarchos takes the wheel.
It's raining again...
Niarchos dives in for a set of drying wets and a few minutes later Kirkaldy takes over from Bell and takes to the track on intermediate tyres. In typical Spa fashion though the rain is stopping... starting... stopping... starting...
Soon after 1400hrs Tim Mullen jumped into no.55 to take it to the flag.
The final two hours of the race fly by as the teams have to keep a close eye on the weather conditions. All goes to plan for CRS though and Mullen and Kirkaldy cross the line in formation in fourth and sixth places in GT2.
The team won't pack up the garage tonight. They'll have a quick tidy up and then leave the hard work for tomorrow as 51 pi t stops in 24 hours is quite enough work for any team!
The final word goes to Chris Niarchos:
"I guess that was a classic case of the Tortoise and the Hare... but the Hare tripped! Considering this was our first 24 hour race the entire team did an exceptional job. The cars ran faultlessly mechanically all weekend and all four of our new drivers gave it their all, as did the regular drivers. James (Sutton) did an exceptional job in testing; unfortunately for him he didn't get to race, but his day will come. Dirk (Mueller), Andrea (Piccini) and Gordon (Shedden) were all great and I have nothing but praise for them."