Spa 3-5 August 2007

After a short journey from Delft which took about 4 hours I arrived at the Spa circuit. . No passengers as my usual hands were on holiday. As it was already closed at Stavelot I tried my luck at the Francochamp entrance. Unfortunately the tunnel only accepts vehicles under 2.30m in height and that does not include my camper. I went back to Stavelot again taking up the amazing old parts of the track. This was surely a daunting track. At Stavelot I started phoning Harald when I saw a Belgian car drive up to the gate. He talked in the microphone and the gate opened. I forgot the phone and started my camper and slipped in behind him.

Free practice

The next morning, Friday, I had the chance to re-familiarize myself with the Spa circuit. The revised busstop is not an improvement. It is very tight and the run to La Source is very short although you can get a good run on somebody. I didn't think I found the best line immediately but I had a good idea what I had to do to be quick there. My own timing gave me a fastest lap of 2:51.5. I didn't know what that meant in the field but I thought is was not a bad time. Certainly given the fact that I was still running the Hockenheim gears. Blanchimont was flat easily but Eau Rouge wasn't.

First qualifying

Later that day the first qualifying was on. I bought new rear tyres because the old ones were destroyed. The front ones were still fine so I decided against a full set although I had brought money to buy four. There were a lot of cars on the track but I found myself in a nice place where there wasn't much traffic. At first Nigel Lingwood was following me and he got a good run on me up Kemmel, but never managed to get his nose in front. Eau Rouge was still almost flat. Pouhon was wonderful, throwing it in with little oversteer to go to the first apex and then flat through the second bit. I lost Nigel and I had a couple of laps completely clear of traffic, which was lucky as there were close to 60 cars on the track. Although I changed my highest gear from 25-25 to 25-26 I didn't think it mattered much for I pulled 6200 versus 6400/6500 rpm. I got a few laps in the 2:51 and finally I managed a 2:50.6 hand-timed in the car. This turned out to be good for a sixth time behind Hanno, who did a staggering 2:44.9, Matthew, Jaap, Tony and Chris. There was more as I knew I could get Eau Rouge flat and there were more places for improvement.

Second qualifying

The second practice was on Saturday morning and the only racing activity of the day. I hadn't changed anything on the car as I was quite happy with its performance. It took some time to get up to speed and also there was a lot of traffic to deal with. After four laps I was overtaken by a couple of two litres and I planned on following them. I guessed this would give me a good lap and some space. I finally took Eau Rouge flat but unfortunately the two litres in front had found something to hold them up and I was bogged down. The next lap something similar happened and again I could not take advantage of a good run through Eau Rouge. Next lap I overcooked it in E.R. and I had to cut Raidillon and lifting off not to end up at the other side. I went over Raidillon with 4 wheels which could cost me my best lap but it should have been clear that this wasn't the way to get a quick lap. Before I could have another attempt the race was red flagged because Onno Zuidersma had a rather unpleasant coming together with Esper van Heesewijk at Eau Rouge, which ended his race weekend as his car was rather battered. Luckily both drivers we fine.

Qualifying results

Class 1st Qualification 2nd Qualification
1 Hanno Hess van Diemen RF88 B 2:44,929 2:46,597
2 Matthew Dean Reynard SF88 B 2:47,424 2:46,541
3 Tony Walsh Reynard SF88 B 2:47,845 2:46,910
4 Jaap Blijleven Reynard SF88 B 2:46,951 2:48,150
5 Chris Stones van Diemen RF85 B 2:50,139 2:50,289
6 Ed Waalewijn van Diemen RF82 B 2:50,633 2:51,239
7 Nigel Lingwood van Diemen RF80 B 2:50,941 3:06,625
8 Paul McMorran Crossle 25F C 2:52,414 2:51,973
9 James Hagan Crossle 32F C 2:52,091 2:53,892
10 Rebecca Dean Reynard SF88 B 2:54,055 2:52,131
11 Alan Crocker Ray FF71 C - 2:52,268
12 Stephen Hagan Crossle 32F C 2:52,286 2:53,983
13 Roel Mulder PRS RH02 B 2:52,702 2:52,474
14 Johannes Kistler van Diemen RF78 C 2:58,445 2:54,211
15 Paul Riemens van Diemen RF76 C 3:00,508 2:55,383
16 Paul Hubbard Merlyn  Mk 20 C 3:00,628 2:56,203
17 Esper van Heesewijk Swift HDR88 B 2:56,723 2:56,988
18 Roberto Kraft Swift HDR88 B 3:02,538 2:57,200
19 Nils Leuber Vaney 71/2 C 2:58,694 3:01,368
20 Christian Schröter van Diemen RF82 B 2:59,099 -
21 Thomas Rohmer van Diemen RF87 B 3:01,280 3:01,644
22 Povl Barfod Titan Mk6 C 3:02,958 3:08,978
23 Christian Kerchen van Diemen RF87 B 3:07,554 3:09,292
24 Günter Böhm Swift HDR88 B 3:15,612 -
25 Robert Boyer van Diemen RF81 B 3:28,282 3:22,688
26 Nicole Rohmer van Diemen RF87 B 3:52,453 3:37,932
27 Bernard Hübel Quest 1987 B 4:20,118 -


Getting on the inside for Eau Rouge


The start of the race was good as I had the inside going into Eau Rouge (left) I could get my car in front of Chris'. As Hanno had pulled into the pit at the end of the warm up lap I was now in fourth place. Jaap was in third but there were a couple of Two Litres in between us. I was a bit afraid these would hold us up in the beginning but that wasn't the case at the start. The run to Les Combes was very hectic and I braked very late, I thought too late, locked up but when I got my foot from the brake the car turned in beautifully. Still fourth and going to Rivage the Two Litres in front of me overcooked it and spun, so I could carry on unobstructed. When we go to the back of the circuit Chris overtook me on cheer speed before we got to Blanchimont. I had to lift off there as he didn't take it full but I could not take advantage of that, being too close behind him.

Chasing Chris who is already out of the picture

In between the Two Liters

Chris in full flow

In lap 2 I managed to pass Chris again at Les Combes and I noticed that Nigel was also started to battle with us for fourth. At the back stretch I had a slightly bigger gap and I was not worried but the moment I wanted to position my car for the approach to Blanchimont I noticed that Chris was there and he made a very audacious move to go round the outside. In the next laps fourth place switched a couple of times between Nigel, Chris and myself. I was in fourth and had a little bit of a gap with a Two Litres between me and Chris when the safety car came out. Two Two litres had collided in Rivage and had to be towed. There were three Two Litres between me and third placed Jaap and one behind me. I hoped the one behind me would hold up the rest of my competitors. When we started racing again the opposite was true as I was held up by the cars in front and before we got to Stavelot I was swarmed by 1600's and as they pushed me off line Chris, Nigel and even Alan Crocker got passed. On the new bus stop I tried to correct that but I didn't get it on the approach but Alan missed a gear mid corner and I narrowly avoided collecting him - it was very close racing though.

The frustrating thing of the race was that I knew I could be faster in Blanchimont and Eau Rouge but I never had the room to take advantage of that speed. Next lap Nigel took fourth and I narrowly managed to go from 6th to 4th in the run to Les Combes first taking a tow from Chris and then from Nigel. I only missed it by a few metres. Finally both Chris and myself got past Nigel and we were held up by the Two Litres ahead of us. I could get past Chris again so he finished half a second ahead of me.

Behind Chris and Nigel (not in picture)

Too close to make a move in Eau Rouge, but clear of the competition

Race results

Class Laps Time Fastest lap
1 Tony Wash Reynard FF 88 B 9 29:12,476 2:48,584
2 Matthew Dean Reynard FF 88 B 9 29:12,838 2:48,704
3 Jaap Blijlevens Reynard FF 88 B 9 29:18,128 2:49,332
4 Chris Stones van Diemen RF 85 B 9 29:30,298 2:49,964
5 Ed Waalewijn van Diemen RF 82 B 9 29:30,745 2:50,213
6 Nigel Lingwood van Diemen RF80 B 9 29:32,130 2:52,043
7 Paul McMorran Crossle 25F C 9 29:32,359 2:51,410
8 Roel Mulder PRS RH02 B 9 29:36,944 2:52,415
9 James Hagan Crossle 32F C 9 29:38,126 2:53,069
10 Rebecca Dean Reynard FF 88 B 9 29:38,521 2:53,071
11 Hanno Hess van Diemen RF 88 B 9 29:57,296 2:51,567
12 Johannes Kistler van Diemen RF78 C 9 29:57,385 2:54,664
13 Paul Riemens van Diemen RF76 C 9 30:10,037 2:56,189
14 Alan Crocker Ray FF71 C 9 30:15,641 2:51,990
15 Thomas Rohmer van Diemen RF87 B 9 30:18,969 3:01,968
16 Roberto Kraft Swift HDR88 B 9 30:28,137 2:56,185
17 Paul Hubbard Merlyn Mk 20 C 9 30:31,975 3:03,545
18 Nils Leuber Vaney 71 C 9 30:32,347 3:04,138
19 Povl Barfod Titan Mk6 C 9 30:33,951 3:04,741
20 Robert Boyer van Diemen RF81 B 9 31:20,101 3:12,630
21 Nicole Rohmer van Diemen RF87 B 8 31:37,242 3:24,109
22 Bernard Hübel Quest 1987 B 8 31:49,197 3:27,641
23 Christian Kerchen van Diemen RF87 B 4 3:13,536
24 Christian Schröter van Diemen RF82 B 3 2:57,528
Winner FF2000
Frank Novak Reynard SF88 A 9 28:27,257 2:38,738

Finished fifth

Here is a link to some of the pictures taken by Dan

After thought

All in all a very exhilarating race. I don't know whether this is a indication for the rest of the season, but I was really held up by Two Litres. From the start there are a lot of Two Litres in the 1600 field. This messes up the race. I would favour a split field which would make the race a lot more interesting for our class. There were four 2 L cars between Hanno and Matthew . Another 2 between Matthew and Tony and Jaap. Again 2 between Jaap and Chris, myself and the rest.