James Walker Spa Race Report

Spa-Francorchamps circuit

Walker Has Competitive Run At Spa

James Walker and his JMW Motorsport team mate Rob Bell, finished the 1000kms of Spa in seventh place today, despite fighting for the race victory in the opening hours of the race.

Although the duo didn’t repeat the win they scored at the season-opener at Paul Ricard they again showed that the No.66 Ferrari 458 was the car to beat, fighting off stiff competition from the top GTE-Pro teams.

Rob started the race from second on the grid after a great performance in Friday’s qualifying session.

“Rob did a great job in qualifying,” said James. “The race started well for us. The Michelins are strong at the start of the stint but as time goes on the Dunlops hang on a lot longer so Rob was able to catch Jaime Melo and pass him for the lead.”

#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia: Rob Bell, James Walker
#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia: Rob Bell, James Walker

Photo by: Lucien Harmegnies

“He handed the car over to me in the lead,” continued James. “We lost a little time in the pits and I came out behind Melo’s team-mate, Toni Vilander. Once I got into the groove I had about six seconds to make up before I caught him. I nearly got him going into the Bus Stop, then got a run into turn one, made him defend on the exit then overtook him on the run down to Eau Rouge.”

In the final laps of James’ first stint he had to contend with a lot of traffic, with big gangs of LMP cars to deal with.

Rob was up next and while pushing hard he caught the kerb awkwardly at Les Coombes, which forced him to run wide through the gravel.

“We really thought Rob had got away with it,” said James. “He brushed the wall really gently and we thought it was all okay for five or six laps but then we saw the car was losing fluid.”

Rob pitted with a cracked radiator, which took around 20 minutes to repair. James rejoined the race but was well down the order after losing all that time.

“These things happen in racing,” said James. “The good news is that we got a good haul of points and it felt good to catch and pass our main competitors. Dunlop deserve a lot of praise today as they have made the world of difference. I had a tour of their factory last week and got to know the Dunlop family better!”

The competition know that they have a formidable opponent in James and Rob. The battle will continue on 3 July at Imola in Italy.

-source: james walker

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About this article
Series Le Mans , European Le Mans
Drivers Rob Bell , Jaime Melo , James Walker , Toni Vilander
Teams JMW Motorsport
Tags jmw motorsport, spa, walker