Spa: Marino Franchitti 24H race report

Marino Franchitti secured a 3rd placed podium in GT2 at the 24 Hours of Spa this weekend. The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 driven by the all Scottish line-up of Marino, Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch crossed the line in 9th place overall and...

Marino Franchitti secured a 3rd placed podium in GT2 at the 24 Hours of Spa this weekend.

The Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 driven by the all Scottish line-up of Marino, Andrew Kirkaldy and Nathan Kinch crossed the line in 9th place overall and 3rd in GT2 class.

The No. 62 Ferrari led the GT2 pack at the start of the race, Andrew Kirkaldy having placed the car on pole by just one-tenth of a second ahead of one of the two factory Ferrari 430's run by AF Corse.

At the first round of pit stops the two-car team of Scuderia Ecosse were running 1st and 2nd in class, but the second placed No. 63 car had a knock by a GT1 car which put them back down the field, a position they were never to regain from finally finishing 6th in GT2 class.

However the No. 62 Ferrari of Franchitti/Kinch/Kirkaldy were also to suffer some minor problems. An hour into Kinch's first stint he had an "off" which sustained some damage to the left rear corner of the Ferrari costing 10 minutes to repair.

Marino's first stint was very much a learning experience for him "I had only a few laps in the car up until the race - about 15 in total - so I was happy that I didn't have any dramas. The car feels OK. Really the only problem out there is the traffic - it's ridiculous!" But he still managed to take the car from 6th to 5th gaining the team valuable points by getting into the top 5 by the 6th hour.

At the end of a second Safety Car period, Kirkaldy was called in for a drive-through penalty for "not complying with the Safety Car procedure", he rejoined desperately trying to make up time, but had an off at turn 8 again which left him sitting in the gravel and repairs were called for when the car returned to the pit. A third of the race now run, it was Nathan Kinch's turn for a double stint, and at the end of a good and uneventful run with the car in 5th place, Marino took over at 03.00 hrs and drove solidly making up a further place to 4th in class.

At 09.00hrs this morning Marino was back in the car and still chasing the Spyker and the two factory Ferrari 430's ahead of him. But unless they made a mistake it was always going to be a long hard struggle to make up the 10 laps that the AF Course Ferrari's had on them. However, Marino was able to get passed the Spyker during his stint and handed the car over in 3rd spot.

But fight they did, and at the chequered flag the distance had been reduced to just 5 laps over the 2nd place AF Corse Ferrari 430.

"It's a fantastic result, Andrew and Nathan both drove brilliantly, and the crew did an amazing job. We all know one another well, which made a huge difference and I'm so proud to get a great result with an all Scottish team. It was a really tough race, the heat, debris strewn all over the track, and constant traffic, but I'm delighted with the outcome and for everyone involved. I can't thank Stewart Roden enough for giving me the opportunity to drive here."

Marino will take part in his third 24 hour race this season when he competes in the Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone at the beginning of September.

-KWA

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Marino Franchitti , Nathan Kinch , Andrew Kirkaldy
Teams AF Corse