Race Club Season 2 Round 6/12 – Spa

To shake things up a bit and to make the middle of the season, round 6 was a double points scoring hour long endurance race at Spa… and just to make it more difficult it would be held in the dark. Although it’s not one of my favourite tracks, I went well there in season 1 (if you forget about my formation lap crash) and was looking forward to this one. I put in quite a few practice sessions and was able to match my best pace in the AMG while driving the Lamborghini and found some consistency – I was even able to take Eau Rouge flat out which I’d never managed before.

Race

My qualifying lap of 2:20.8 (my fastest lap ever around Spa) was only good enough for P8, sandwiched between championship leader Jack and Terry. The top 3 had been separated by less then 0.1s and the top 8 were all within 1.8s of each other so it was quite close.

At the start, everyone got away cleanly and after being compromised slightly exiting Raidillon, Terry was able to pass me along the Kemmel Straight and Chris squeezed past me around the outside at Stavelot, dropping me down to 10th by the end of the 1st lap. I stuck close to Chris and came out on top when we both made errors at Les Combes and then throwing the place away by braking to late at Bruxelles, running wide and letting him have the space back. As I sorted myself out for the next corner I was tagged by Brian and span. He carried on and by the time I got going again I’d dropped down to 12th behind Jörgen. At the end of the lap, the gap was just under 4 seconds.

Jörgen and Dan were fighting hard over 11th and I’d caught them by the time we arrived at Les Fagnes. I passed Jörgen before Campus and outbreak Dan into the chicane. I then set about catching Brian and Chris who were 11 seconds in front. I started to close the gap and then lost control at the chicane two laps later, allowing Dan and Jörgen to pass me. I’d have to get past them both again!

I hadn’t done any damage to the car and by the end of the lap I squeezed up the inside of Dan at the chicane. I chased Jörgen hard for a long time until with 28 minutes to go I made the my only stop from 4th after other stopped or had incidents – taking on new tires and fuel to get me to the end. I absolutely nailed the pit limiter and was afraid I was going to get a drive through for speeding in the pit lane but I just avoided it. After the contact with Brian there was just over a second added to the stop to repair damage. 31.9 seconds later I was on my way again.

I rejoined in 8th, with Chris 1.8s I front of me. On my outlap the gap opened up a little but then I regained my confidence and started to chase him down. 3 laps later we were in a drag race out of Raidillon and I took the outside line into Les Combes, giving me the inside line at Malmedy as Chris tucked in behind me in what was quite a fun little battle. Chris stayed close to me for a couple of laps until he got past me exiting the chicane and we fought it out again along the Kemmel Straight. This time the Lamborghini was faster and I was in front by the time we arrived at Les Combes.

With 12 minutes to go I was now in 5th and just wanted to hang on. Chris started to drop away and on the following lap I was lapped by Kevin who was leading. I was surprised how slow he was (his tires where shot) and he started to slow me up – after making a small error I had a gap to him and I was able to run at my own pace again with Dan following me about a second behind. I managed to hold on and brought the car home in 5th, just under 2 seconds in front of Dan.

The complete race on YouTube

Lessons Learned

This was my best drive of the season so far by a long way and I was really happy with it. The main reason for the success being consistency and concentration. By the end of the session, my SA had increased by 2pts, CN had dropped 3pts to 82 and my CC was still at 100. The strong result, scoring double points for the endurance round was enough to life me 2 places in the championship to 6th. Overall I was very pleased with the result and now need to use it as a springboard in next weeks 2 sprint races at Donington.