Spa: Spyker Squadron race report

Unfortunate end for Spyker Squadron in stong Spa 1000km Spa-Francorchamps, 19 August -- A punctured tire caused an early exit for Dutch Spyker Squadron today in the fourth round of the Le Mans Series: the 1000km of Spa. The team was able to...

Unfortunate end for Spyker Squadron in stong Spa 1000km

Spa-Francorchamps, 19 August -- A punctured tire caused an early exit for Dutch Spyker Squadron today in the fourth round of the Le Mans Series: the 1000km of Spa. The team was able to make good progress during the six-hour race but had to retire due to an accident whilst running in a fourth position after almost five hours of racing.

Jarek Janis (CZ) and Peter Kox (NL) started this morning from a tenth position on the grid in a strong GT2 field of nineteen cars. Conditions to race were great: the sun and mild temperatures attracted numerous fans to see a Le Mans Series field of 50 cars and its support series from the grandstands.The race started for Squadron without any problems. After two hours of racing the drivers both completed their first stint and were able to move forward. Jarek said aftwerwards: "We did not push too hard so early in the race to save the tires a bit. Although I had a bit of understeer at the end of my first stint the car was feeling good".

After almost two hours of trouble free racing Peter took over from Jarek again. The car in front of him, the number 83 Ferrari, got a three minute stop-and-go penalty Peter was able to move up to a seventh position. The race knew a number of safety car situations. The first one was at around a quarter past three and Kox came in to quickly refresh the rubber and to refuel. Although Spyker's highly drilled mechanics executed the pitstop prompt and without error, the gap with the car in front was too large to move up the ladder. Just twenty minutes later a collision on the track, this time between a prototype and a Porsche, caused a second full-course yellow. This time the team was able to benefit from the situation moved to sixth position in class.

At ten minutes to five, with still an hour and halve to race till the chequered flag, the predicted rain arrived. Jarek was in the car and showed his pace and combined with a clever strategy the number 85 Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R was running in a strong fourth position with a one lap advantage over the number five in class. Conditions improved and the track dried up. Unfortunately, without any warning, one of the rear tires suffered from a puncture at 17h25. It happened at one of those places where one never hopes it will happen. Just before entering Spa's best known track section, Eau Rouge, Jarek lost control over the back of the car due to the tire puncture whilst running at full speed. The car spun and hit the tire wall sideways very hard.

Peter van Erp, team director Spyker Squadron: "I am quite pleased with our performance this weekend: the whole team was very motivated and atmosphere and spirits were great. Everything was going well and then suddenly this happens with Jarek. The crash was clearly not a driver error. Based on Jarek's comments and eyewitness' reports it looks like an exploded tire caused the accident. It took some time to get him out of the car before he was send to the circuit's medical centre by an ambulance. Fortunately he was found okay by the doctors after a quick checkup and re-joined the team after an hour or so".

He continues: "It is very sad for the mechanics. Although Spa is a very fast racetrack, this was our most competitive race in the season and, in terms of performance, it looks like we are back on track. I was disappointed in the way the race organisers used the penalties. In my eyes some penalties were too hard and many cars, including our sister car -- the Speedy Racing Team Spyker got a 3 minute 'stop & go'-penalty -- suffered from this policy".

"Before the Le Mans Series heads to South-America for the last round this season our next race will be the fifth and last European round of the series: the 1000km of Silverstone. If we are capable to maintain momentum we are able to show similar results as today albeit because Silverstone with its long and quick corners in a way is similar to Spa and fits our car well".

Jarek Janis: "Everything was going great this weekend. The team took a good decision by staying out when it started raining so we won some places there. In the beginning of the race there was some confusion due to a warning that we got from the ACO but the rest of the race was quite good: we did not make any mistakes, nothing went wrong and the car was good. It is sad that I got a puncture at the end of the race but I am okay!"

-credit: Spyker Squadron

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Peter Kox , Jarek Janis