Spa 24: Jos Menten Racing race report

With spots on the first and third row Phoenix Carsport has excellent perspectives for the race of two times around the clock. During the practice and qualifying sessions on Thursday and Friday both Corvette C6.R did not...

With spots on the first and third row Phoenix Carsport has excellent perspectives for the race of two times around the clock. During the practice and qualifying sessions on Thursday and Friday both Corvette C6.R did not encounter a single problem. but during the race faith strikes for the beautiful American muscle cars.

Having lost the Saleen S7R from the Larbre Competition team, after a fierce crash in the warm-up, the #6 Phoenix Corvette leads the field. Jos Menten, behind the wheel of the Corvette bearing sporting number five, will start from fifth position on the grid. At 16h00 the light turns green for the 60th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Marcel Fassler keeps cool and gives way for Xavier Maassen (SRT - Corvette C6.R) who comes up on the inside and contents himself with a second place for now. Jos Menten tries to benefit from the opening his fellow countryman created.

Menten prepares to overtake the third placed Jetalliance Aston Martin, but gets nudged by Andrea Bertolini (Vitaphone Racing - Maserati MC12 #1): "I saw the Maserati coming in my rear view mirror but there wasn't enough room for both of us. He crashed into my right rear, causing me to spin. I put the car and neutral and rolled backwards to avoid another collision. Luckily everybody was able to get around my car without damaging it", the 27 year young Dutchman tells us. The driver from Haelen rejoins the battle at the back, facing a thirty second gap with the front runners. A combative Menten is lapping the same times as the leaders, working his way through the field. In merely a handful of laps he passes all G3-, G2- and GT2-cars! One hour in the race the Phoenix-driver is right on the tail of the GT1- competitors. First Menten passes the PK Carsport Saleen S7R before taking over seventh place from the IPB Spartak Reiter Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT. 2 hours and 10 minutes in the race Menten comes to the pits for a driver chance. Uwe Alzen takes over the wheel of the Corvette C6.R. The experienced German does a double stint and dives into the top-five. Lap by lap Alzen closes the gap and after 4 hours and 20 minutes the former DTM- driver lies in fourth position, merely one minute behind his leading Phoenix-team mates.

Alexandros Margaritis gets behind the wheel of the car for the fifth and sixth stint. During his stints the Greek has to cope with changing weather conditions. Nevertheless the former DTM-star manages to steer the Corvette C6.R to the top of the time sheets, being the fastest driver out on the track. From last to first in merely five hours; Jos Menten, Uwe Alzen and Alexandros Margaritis have put in an exceptional performance. but it ain't over until the fat lady sings. The Phoenix Carsport-firebird is forced to leave the battle field early.

"When Alexandros came in for a tire change, the rain came pouring down. He decided to stay on slicks but in his second lap he made a mistake on the Raidillon. The car hit the wall sideways, damaging the right exhaust pipe and the clutch. Because of the impact the clutch started to slip, causing it to overheat. Alexandros tried to get the car to the pits but in the Pif Paf the Corvette C6.R caught fire. The backside went up in flames and the car was brought in by a tow truck", a disappointed Menten tells us.

Phoenix Carsport; from heaven to hell in half an hour. Thirty minutes after the fire on the #5, the other Corvette enters the pit with a damaged front. Mike Hezemans could not avoid the crashed Jetalliance Aston Martin and collided with the DBR9. Hezemans-Fassler-Gollin-Deletraz lose seven laps because of this incident.

-credit: jmr

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Mike Hezemans , Alexandros Margaritis , Andrea Bertolini , Xavier Maassen , Jos Menten
Teams Larbre Competition