The second round of the FIA European GT3 championship was held at the classic Spa-Francorchamps track in the depths of the Arden valley. This picturesque track is one of the most demanding tracks in the World, Sean Edwards has written a full race report on the weekend’s events below.
Qualifying for Spa went really well, with Dimitris doing a solid job to put us p9 in Quali one and I put us p4 in quail 2, over 2 seconds clear from the next Porsche! This was later to become P3 as Tiff Needell could not start the race due to his Aston being trashed from the first race smash.
Race 1 and Dimitris started it, he was on a charge in the first 4 laps, coming from p9 to p4! He had a good battle with 2 vipers and then came in to hand the car over to me. We got the car out in P4 behind the safety car and we discussed what I had to do over the radio. I had to get past the Dodge ahead of me to have any chance of keeping up with the others. On the restart the Aston went by the Viper into Eau Rouge and I got a good run on him down the straight and passed him into Les Combe, securing 3rd place.
I followed the Aston for the rest of the race, just about keeping up with it, but it was still just to fast. The red flag came out with 4 min to go and the team told me that the Aston had not stopper for the right amount of time in their pit stop and were going to get a penalty, so we were promoted to p2! It was such a great result after the disappointment of Oschersleben and the Tech 9 crew had done a mega job to get us there! Although the Dodge’s were still too fast for us to catch, we were happy to be back at the sharp end.
Race 2 came around and we had a real chance to have another good result, I started the race in p3 and I knew I had to take advantage of the Porsche on cold tyres. I dived down the inside of the race winning Dodge, but it was too ambitious and I had to go straight on across the grass into Les Combe! I got back o in P3 and settled into a rhythm. I could just about keep up with the Corvette and the Viper in the first 4 laps, but when the tyres started to get to hot on the Porsche, the other cars were gone. Because they have so much down force, they can do fast times consistently in the race, and don’t overheat their tyres. Where as the Porsche does not have much down force and relies heavily on its tyres for grip, which overheat throughout the race.
I just tried to be consistent and keep the other cars at bay, which the Aston of Zani was not happy about and tried to push me off! Silly move and he punctured his own radiator and was out of the race. I came into the pits and handed the race over to Dimitris, as he came out the 2 cars had a huge crash at the top of Eau Rouge and the safety car was out for the rest of the race bar 1 lap. Dimitris did a great job on that lap and snatched 2nd place with an awesome move down the inside of the Corvette and he held onto 2nd place until the line.
It really was a great weekend for us and I have to say a huge thank you and congratulations to the whole Tech 9 Motorsport team and especially too Phil Hindley (Team Manager), Dan Fitzsimmons (N1 Engineer), Ross Patterson (N2 Engineer) and Giannoulis Kafetzis (Data Dude/Dimitris translator)! These guys put in so much hard work to get us here and we couldn’t have done it without them, thanks to the whole team once again!
We are now P2 overall in the championship and leading the Porsche manufacturers championship! Dijon is going to be a tough weekend, but I hope we can score some solid points and keep the championship alive.””