Spa Six Hours
Spa Six Hours
NEW ZEALANDERS ROGER WILLS and Brendon Hartley were the hares for most of the 20th Spa Six Hours, but Simon Hadfield's epic final stint in Leo Voyazides' sister Ford GT40 brought him past Wills, who was grappling with gearbox problems.
With 20 minutes to run P/1005 swept past P/1009, which lost a whole 54 seconds on the following lap, then pitted forlornly. Voyazides' Pan B-prepared car, runner-up in 2010 and '11, never missed a beat, however, in the longest and fastest race in the event's history.
The Greek was overjoyed at his first outright victory and Hadfield's fouth in the racing world's most celebrated historic enduro. "Simon drove the race of hB life to pull back 45 seconds on Roger. His 2min 47sec lap in the dark, on a slippery track, five laps from home was incredible."
Wills was classified fifth, his young team-mate having led most laps in a superb middle stint. "I'm gutted to have come so close," said Roger. "Second gear went, then fifth, then others. It was used up." Shaun Lynn shared GT40 P/1025 with five-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Emanuele Pirro, but finished second, one lap down, ahead of Michiel Campagne's Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport done in which
Allard Kalif led 36 laps. "We didn't push hard enough early on in what became a six-hour sprint," said Lynn.
Behind the GT Prototypes, the GTSwinning Jaguar E-type of John Clark, his son Chris and Alasdair McCaig finished a brilliant fouth. "I had a big battle with Sean McInerney's TVR Griffith until I ran him out of brakes," said Clark Sr. The TVR later lost a rear wheel, which was struck by the E-type of last year's third-paced man Chris Scragg. Triple Spa winners Jon and Jason Minshaw and Martin Stretton (E-type) were out after nine laps with a split fuel tank.
Among the support races, Simon Fish (Ensign N180) scored his maiden Grand Prix Masters wins, pressed on both days by Jean-Michel Martin (Fittipaldi F8). A yellow flag penalty saw Hartley/Wills (McLaren M1 C) concede Spotscar Masters success to WDK team-mates Peter Hardman/ Gregor Fisken (VI C). Jason Minshaw (Brabham BT4) bagged a brace of HGPCA wins, while Alex Furiani and Bernd Hahne (Alfa Romeo GTA) prevailed in U2TC. Finally, Dutchman Karsten Le Blanc and Nigel Greensall (AC Cobra) claimed their first Gentlemen Drivers victory after ignition failure stranded the leading Cobra of Voyazides and Hadfield. Marcus Fye