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Belgian GT, Spa – Race Report
Vosse & Renard Spray The Francorchampagne

The crowds in the grandstands at Francorchamps went home happy following the spectacle of the Belgian GT Mediagroep Van Dyck race.

During the initial phase of the race, pole holder Jeffrey Van Hooydonk built up a lead and only Vincent Radermecker appeared to have the power to keep up with the yellow A+ Racing Viper. However, the Gravity Racing International Mosler was soon back in the pit box with an unsolvable brake problem. Behind the leader an exciting battle ensued between the Ferraris of Bouvy and Vosse and the Porsches of Couwberghs and Soulet. The Sport Garage Ferrari was the first one to dive into the pitlane for the driver change, which proved to be important somewhat later on in the race.

For lap after lap an intense battle was fought out between the championship leaders, the Porsche of GPR and the Delahaye Racing Ferrari.

In the meantime, the second Gravity Mosler of Bert Longin and Anthony Kumpen had thrown in the towel due to a damaged engine. Their season appears to be turning into the road to Calvary. After the first series of pitstops GPR took over the lead, ahead of the A+ Viper of Van Hooydonk and Menno Kuus, replacing Robert Dierick. The Ferrari of Delahaye – Francorchamps Motors was in third place driven by Damien Coens.

Two race-incidents led to lengthy neutralisations, with in the first instance the Porsche of Robin Maes disappearing from the scene, followed by the Ferrari of Frank Thiers experiencing a heavy crash, luckily without any serious injuries for either driver.

The regulations for the races of two hours state that each driver must drive for at least 35 minutes without interruption and this regulation would turn out to be perfect for Eddy Renard and Vincent Vosse. Under the safety-car procedure Vincent Vosse was able to retake the wheel of the Ferrari, which turned out to be the foundation for their first victory in the Belgian GT Championship.

Behind them Bart Couwberghs and Ruben Maes finished in an excellent second place; this keeps them in contention for the championship.

Jeffrey Van Hooydonk just managed to bring the A+ Viper into third spot, followed by the championship leaders, Bouvy and Coens. The latter have come out well with their Ferrari in this championship, as their closest rivals, Soulet-Franchi, only crossed the line in sixth place. Between these two protagonists the Mosler of G&A slotted itself in. Until a few laps from the end this car appeared as though it would grab victory, but a late splash & dash for Guino Kenis meant that they had to be content with fifth place. G&A opted for an early pitstop, as Michael De Keersmaecker had to travel to the rallycross, but finally the Mosler was thirstier than foreseen.

In the drivers’ championship Bouvy-Coens now have an eight point lead over Franchi-Soulet and twelve more than Couwberghs-Maes. The finals, with two races of one hour each, to be held during the FIA GT weekend on 19th October at Circuit Zolder, promises to be a gruelling battle.

Notwithstanding their retirement, the Porsche 996 Powercars of Robin Maes and Olivier Van Oost are champions in Division 2, whilst Niels Lagrange and Pascal Nelissen-Grade, in the Porsche 997 of First Motorsport, with their win have safeguarded their title in Division 3.

Quotes:

Vincent Vosse: “We really wanted a podium before the end of the season and this is obviously one tread higher, even though we must admit that this victory is also thanks to the way the race turned out.”

Bart Couwberghs: “Once again we had a strong strategy and at one given moment I didn’t even know what place I was ranked. But we can be satisfied with our second place, and we remain in the running for both the driver and the team titles.”

Jeffrey Van Hooydonk: “I’m somewhat disappointed because we were the fastest on the track, but the race conditions didn’t turn to our advantage.”

Result:

1. Vosse-Renard (Ferrari 430) 44 laps; 2. Couwberghs-Maes (Porsche 997 Cup S) + 18.294; 3. Van Hooydonk-Kuus (Bel-NL/Dodge Viper) + 28.890; 4. Bouvy-Coens (Ferrari F430) + 36.494; 5. Kenis-De Keersmaeker (Mosler MT900) + 36.810; 6. Soulet-Franchi (Porsche 997 Cup S) + 56.839; 7. Wauters Koen – Schreurs (Dodge Viper) + 1.45.656; 8. Van Moerkerke-Derdaele (Dodge Viper) + 1.49.111; 9. Kris Wauters-Vanthoor (Dodge Viper) + 2.10.113; 10. Dockerill-Greensall (GB/Ferrari F430) + 2.18.585; 11. Haane-Ceusters (Lamborghini Gallardo) + 2.21.793; 12. Lagrange Nelissen-Grade (Porsche 997 Supercup) + 1 lap (1st in D3) 

Intermediate rankings:

Drivers Championship: 1. Bouvy-Coens 110; 2. Soulet-Franchi 102; 3. Couwberghs-Maes 98
Teams Championship: 1. Porsche NGT 49.5; 2. Porsche GPR 47; 3. Ferrari Francorchamps Motors 46
Teams Division 1: 1. Ferrari Francorchamps Motors 50; 2. Porsche NGT 49.5; 3. Porsche GPR 47

Joost Custers