With ominous clouds drifitng over Spa Francorchamps it was proving to be challenging conditions forthe GT4 drivers. Practice started with slight rain which intensified a bit during the practice and we arrived at race start with medium rain and quite some standing water on track. With all cars on wet tyres and visibilty not the greatest the drivers took it safe going into the famous Radillion-Eau Rouge combination.
Tim Krol had a perfect start and managed to immediately pull a gap to Sem Spenkelink. It was Sem though who had the better consistent pace and after switching to dry tyres during the pit stop really managed to pull away and secure the race win. Tom Krol held on to second place and Luke Pound rounded up the Pro category podium.
In the AM class it was a fierce battle between Calum Boyd in the Mclaren and Stephan Arvidsson and Denise Pope (both Ginetta drivers). After more then an hour of racing they crossed the finish line with only a couple of seconds between them.
A bit further down the order Manuel Willems was in a battle of his own with multiple drivers. Manuel kindly provided a post-race report for an inside view into his race:
I was really looking forward to this particular race, I live a 30 minute drive from the actual Spa Francorchamps track and really love this track. The weather is almost the same where I live ( Spa Francorchamps is located higher in the Ardennes) so the prediction was almost spot on besides from the snow.
In the practice I was really struggling with the car behavior, it was not as stable as in the preseason qualification event, despite I was using the same setup i was missing almost 2 seconds. I decided to take the gamble and decided to use the default wet setup and tweak this a little bit. Qualified at P21 I was really hoping that I could take some places in the race.
The start was decent from almost every one of us, and i really felt bad that I had a small contact with Daniel Hoekstra which resulted in a spin for him, another apology for that buddy. The following laps I was battling with Martijn Kessels and after a small mistake from him he touched my car and we both had severe damage to the car. I decided to take my changes too not only to repair the car but also did my mandatory pitstop and too race to the checkered flag in the hope to take some places back. I came back on track on lap behind the field and tried to get back in my pace, after some laps I was right behind Arjan van der Linden who was driving on P9 and I could follow him pretty good, so that was a little bummer because the race pace was not so bad, but those things happen.
The track conditions at the end of the race were very tricky, all of my tyres were overheating and like balloons, the last lap was like I was driving on eggs, but that’s one thing I really like about dynamic weather. You always take a gamble and sometimes the coin flip to the other side.
After all I had a really fun night, I really like racing with SRHI and looking forward to the next one, I really want to say thanks to the guys behind the scenes at SRHI to make these championships possible.
Whit Best Regards Manuel Willems #195 MRW Motorsports