Proximus 24 Hours of Spa 12-Hour Report Larbre ahead at Spa; Ortelli takes N-GT lead. At mid-distance of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, the Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper of last year's winner Christophe Bouchut, with David Terrien, Vincent...
Proximus 24 Hours of Spa
Larbre ahead at Spa; Ortelli takes N-GT lead.
At mid-distance of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, the Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper of last year's winner Christophe Bouchut, with David Terrien, Vincent Vosse and Sebastian Bourdais, continued to lead the way and they took the second haul of points. That brings their tally so far this weekend to ten points, moving Bouchut and Terrien to the head of the drivers' classification by 1.5 points with another ten points available at full distance. Early season championship leaders Jamie Campbell-Walter and Nicolaus Springer dropped to joint third in the classification after picking up 1.5 points for fourth position in their Lister Storm Racing Lister Storm. The nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Derichebourg, Duez and Babini runs second at the 12-hour mark, picking up a further three points which moves them to eighth position. Larbre extends its lead in the Teams' classification to 3.5 points, ahead of Lister Storm Racing.
In the N-GT class, Stephane Ortelli, Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard led the way in their nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3R, running third overall behind the two Chrysler Vipers. Ortelli moves to the head of the drivers' classification by half a point as the nr 50 Ferrari 360 Modena dropped to fourth position, Andrea Montermini and Christian Pescatori scoring 1.5 points each. Bert Longin, Marc Lieb, Georges Foreois and Andre Lotterer made it a Freisinger Porsche 1-2 in the N-GT category, seventh overall, while the RWS Porsche of Luca Riccitelli, Dieter Quester, Toto Wolff and Philipp Peter ran third, which moves Wolff into fourth position in the drivers' classification.
The nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Terrien, Bouchut, Vosse and Bourdais, that led at six hours, lost the lead when the car suffered a puncture in the seventh hour. David Terrien pitted to have the wheel changed, but lost further time when he was forced to pit again to have a faulty wheel nut replaced. That handed the lead to the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Anthony Kumpen, Mike Hezemans and Thierry Tassin.
However, with Kumpen at the wheel just short of the nine-hour mark, the nr 3 car was involved in a heavy accident that destroyed the Viper. Kumpen had just passed Ulli Schumacher's nr 58 Autorlando Porsche 996 GT3R at the La Source hairpin when the Porsche hit the left rear of the Viper, forcing Kumpen into a violent accident. Both drivers emerged unscathed, Kumpen complaining only of a sore elbow having escaped through the top of the flaming, roofless Viper. The accident caused a lengthy Safety Car period that lasted three hours, while the barriers were repaired.
In the N-GT class, the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3R of Ortelli, Dumas and Collard led the way, third position overall after the leading cars had dropped out. Their only scare during the second quarter of the race came when Collard was involved in a collision with Raffaele Sanguiolo's nr 64 Cirtek Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3R. The accident bent the suspension of the Cirtek Porsche though the Freisinger car continued at unabated speed.
The nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3R of Longin, Lieb, Forgeois and Lotterer ran in second position in the class, seventh overall and a lap ahead of the nr 76 RWS Porsche 996 GT3R of Quester, Wolff, Peter and Riccitelli. That car was delayed in the first quarter of the event when Riccitelli had a minor accident, damaging the front of the Porsche.
Nicolaj Fomenko - nr 77 RWS Porsche : "After our problems, we now have a good tempo, and we have a plan for a good result. The car has not been right all weekend, but I hope it is now OK. We hope to be back on track - it's a long race."
David Terrien - nr 1 Larbre Viper : "Christophe did a double stint, then Sebastien. Vincent is in the car now. I'll be next to drive. Everything is going really well so far, with no problems."
Anthony Kumpen - nr 3 : "Our only problems have been at the beginning of the race when we had a wrong decision behind the pace car, and then a puncture. It is very strange - in the three-hour races our car doesn't last for three hours, and here we can do six ! If we take three points at six hours, that will be OK. We thought that Ferrari and Lister would go much further without problems."
Nicolaus Springer - nr 14 Lister Storm : "I enjoyed that - it's a lovely summer evening to go driving around, and it's Spa - what else can you ask for ? The only similarity is a good day fishing. All thoughts go out of your head and you just have to concentrate on bringing the car home in one piece. The last time I drove here was during the test day, when I went off and damaged the splitter, so I really enjoyed my stint tonight as I didn't make any mistakes. This racing more suits my style of driving. It's not about outright speed, but it is about taking care of the car. The traffic is bad and I lost a lot of time. Eric's accident cost us nine minutes, and then we had to pit again because there was still bodywork rubbing on the tyre."
Thierry Tassin - nr 3 Carsport Viper - after getting out of the car in lap 166 "I am discovering that we are leading by a lap ! I had the same rhythm as one of the Belmondo Vipers. I was following it close behind and therefore I saved fuel. I had a very good stint. I will keep my fingers crossed for this year's race."
Toine Hezemans - Carsport Holland "We had a broken gearbox and a broken starter motor. We have a very good brake consumption. It will last 13 to 14 hours before changing them. We will either win or lose this race in the pits. We have saved time by double stinting our tyres three times already."
Iradj Alexander - JMB Ferrari 360 Modena nr 51: "We changed everything in the electronics and in the engine but it still does not work. I don't know if we are finished. May be we will continue for the experience. The car is still very young for 24-hour races and we need the mileage"
David Terrien - Larbre Viper nr 1: "I had a problem at the start of my stint as I lost a wheel in the first corner. I had to come back slowly to the pits where the problem was solved. At the beginning, I also had to get my marks on the track since I did not drive at night on the dry. I set my best times at the end of my stint, showing there are no problems with the car"
Anthony Kumpen - nr 3: "I passed the nr 58 Porsche and then he hit me at the left rear. My car spun into the wall and caught fire while I was still sitting in it. There were flames on all sides and I got out of the car over the top because the roof was gone. I have never seen a move like this before. I passed him out of La Source, I was in the straight line and he wanted to tuck in behind me but he came too early."
Andy Wallace - nr 14: "We are slowly getting back, we are now only four laps behind the leaders and we were seven. But we need some luck. It is a real problem when you have a problem early on because you are always playing catch up."
David Terrien, nr 1: "At the beginning of my double stint I was slow because I didn't have much practice in the night and I didn't know the reference points in the dark. The balance of the car is very good, and the tyres are very consistent. I did my fastest lap just before the end of my stint."