Spa Francorchamps through the eyes of the S2 Championship leader

Sem Spenkelink currently leading the SRHI GT3 Championship had an eventful race (like many) at Spa Francorchamps last night. Below you find Sem’s race report of the penultimate championship race of season 2.

SRHI GT3 Championship race 8 Spa Francorchamps by Sem Spenkelink

“This was probably the most eventful race of the season for me. The race was the most disastrous of the season yet, but also a lot of fun with a lot of overtakes, dramatic occurrences and epic code-brown moments.” – Sem 08-12-2020

Race start! I had a good getaway being close behind Nard but sensibly stayed behind as 3-wide is never a good idea ;). Uphill I managed to gain one position on Bart, but in the braking zone for for Les Combes the Ferrari of Patrick Wanst tapped me from behind and almost spun me around, causing Bart to get back ahead. Unfortunately, the Ferrari spun out completely himself.

The rest of lap 1 was pretty awesome. Getting beside Bart through Pouhon into Fagnes. It was only when entering Stavelot that Bart had to slot in behind. My exit from Stavelot was good and I immediately managed to pass Simon Pike on through the inside of Blanchimont. Up ahead Daan Lenssen made a mistake, but I couldn’t overtake him in the bus stop. However, I was close now and could get the job done on Kemmel Straight. Next was the Porsche of mr Wieser. My exit from Stavelot was good the next lap and overtook him before Blanchimont.

Epic Failure: the reason my race felt shit regardless of any result. Klaas Wester went wide through Blanchimont so I pulled up to his right towards the busstop. Klaas had a sudden movement to the right in the start of the braking zone. I had avoid that and my car got slightly unstable, so I had to let go of the brakes for a split second. I was easily going to make the corner, but up ahead disaster formed. My teammate Nard was still in the first part of the busstop and I had nowhere to go. The nose of my car tapped his back and spun him around. Disastrous for our team result and my first real mistake of the championship. Gutted that it happened. I first decided to wait for Nard and let 7 people by on the next straight. Unfortunately, Nard wasn’t back on track yet and after talking on discord I continued to chase the pack ahead, with Frans van der Linden in the AMR being the first target for P16.

I’m right up the tail of Jordy Bakker’s Ferrari goint through Eau Rouge as he loses it over the kerbs, spinning out of the track. Immediately, after the sBin I’m witnessing a fight between the Bentley Boys (Daan and Marcel). As Marcel gets pushed wide a bit, I manage to capitalise passing him through Les Combes. Due to a bad exit, Marcel almost mange to come back through Pouhon, but he’s running out of road.

What follows next is probably my best overtake of the season, going around Daan Lenssen in Blanchimont without even running off track. Really respectful awesome racing there. Eat that Verstappen. The next time through raidillon I manage to easily get by the Porsche of P. Wieser that’s struggling with top speed.

Check out for yourselves at Timestamp 13:46

Chasing Bart Zweerink for the second (and not the last) time today. Bart goes wide a bit (no a lot) through the exit of Stavelot and I get up next to him through Blanchimont almost managing the overtake again, but Bart cheekily makes me run wide and defends the inside of the Busstop accurately. A great run up Raidillon however makes him yield his position through Les Combes.

After taking a while to close the gap to Demian, I manage to pass him around the outside of Fagnes after a good run through Pouhon. He didn’t defend too hard, keeping his gap to Bart steady.

After a good five minutes the next cat up the road was Klaas Wester. A small mistake through Pouhon causes me to be right up his tail. I slip stream toward his tail through blanchimont but I have to lift so I cannot manage an overtake into the Busstop. I get a good run on him out of Raidillon and pull out of the slip stream on the Kemmel straight. I’m almost fully ahead going into the braking zone. Then Disaster strikes. In a classic ferrari-attempt to keep/regain his position, Klaas is very late on the brakes and cannot keep the inside of the corner. Luckily my BMW is there to help him turn a little extra and continue. Unfortunately, his punterino made me spin and face the wrong way. Next it gets dangerous as i have to turn the car around with two ferrari’s approaching quickly, but I manage to pass the track and turn the car around. The damage almost made me spin as Marcel also passes me. Luckily I had not taken my pit stop yet and could repair my damages. After the pit stop and repairing my damages, I came out behind my team mate Nard. We started chasing the Ferrari and Merc of Demian and Dimitri.

Demian spins through raidillon and all three of us manage to somehow avoid carnage. Massive code brown. The sbinnalla made me gain 3 positions and shortly after I also overtook M. Markech who just came out of the pits and Koen Septer who (I think) had damage. After that there was a 5 second gap to fellow-BMW driver C. Pride up ahead. I slowly closed the gap down to 2.7 second, before other drivers up ahead started to get in the mix.

And who else could’ve been up ahead then Simon Pike and Bart Zweerink! I swear I’ve seen you guys like 3-4 times this race… Managed to get a good run on Simon on Kemmel Straight, and he let me by fairly easy. Bart was a different story at 54:00, he fought for his position pretty hard, but I got up Eau Rouge with much more speed and managed to overtake him on the straight. After that there was only 3 laps left and an 8 second gap to Klaas (and Cody), which I got down to 2,7s but had to settle for 5th position.

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