In great conditions the two SNORAS Spyker Squadron cars appeared at the start this afternoon for the second round of the Le Mans Series. It was only three weeks ago that the Dutch team finished fifth in its first race ever with their new GT2 racer, the Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R. After the first race this season the SNORAS Spyker Squadron crew spent their time well on new developments and arrived in Monza with a new radiator exit duct.
The cars qualified in ninth and eleventh position for today’s 1000 km of Monza but the race director penalized the number 85 car for too high cockpit ambient temperatures. Instead of startting from the back of the field the team decided this morning to start from the pit lane. This gave the team the advantage to start the race on warm tires and save two laps worth of fuel.
At 12:50 the race started in sunny and warm conditions and a fair crowd filled the grandstands. In the early stages of the race there were two full course yellow situations. As the field of 44 cars compressed behind the safety car, car number 85 was able to join the field and was soon running in a seventh position in class. In the first hours of the race the other Spyker, the Speedy Racing Team C8, ran trouble-free except for a bit of understeer.
After about three and a half hours in the race Andrea Chiesa called the team over the radio to report a problem with the car and shortly after he returned to the pit box. The car was pushed in the box and the mechanics found that a faulty wheel drive pack was the cause. It took a few minutes to fix the problem and Andrea could join the field still running in sixth position.
Both cars gradually moved forward in the competitive GT2 field and at one point the Kelleners-Vasiliev-Dumbreck car ran in fourth position. Four hours in the race the safety car went out for the third time after a major accident with one of the prototypes. Unfortunately car number 85 was just behind the leader and was caught by the safety car. The car it was chasing, the number 99 Ferrari 430, was fortunate as it was waved by the safety car and therewith got an advantage of a lap. The Speedy Racing car missed the two lap fuel advantage of starting from the pit lane and came in under yellow for the necessary splash and dash to finish the race.
After almost five hours of racing the leading Peugeot was in its final race lap when Peter Dumbreck called the the team over the radio that there was a problem with the engine. While the Peugeot 908 LMP1 crossed the finish line Peter could just made it to the pit box. Peter Dumbreck: “I had a good stint, we set the quickest time at the end so our speed was good and then in the last lap the engine let go in the second chicane”. The car could not be restarted to do another lap and regulations say that a car needs cross the finish line to be classified in the results and the car’s fifth position was lost.
The Speedy Racing Team Spyker driven by Benjamin Leuenberger and Andrea Chiesa was one place behind Peter Dumbreck’s car and now finished in fifth place. Benjamin: “We finished in P5 and that is what we hoped for. We knew that with a good race pace and without too much problems we could finish in top-5 and that is what we did today. We had one small problem in our third stop but the crew fixed it very quickly. The setup was quite good and Andrea also drove brilliant today. I hope for another top-5 finish at Spa in two weeks time”.
Peter van Erp, managing director Spyker Squadron: “We had a good race today. We have had one problem with the 85 where we had to reset the fuse of the fuel pump after a pit stop and lost about a minute. And then, right at the end of the race, in the last lap, the camshaft chain went. This is really disappointing and I cannot understand why it happened this way”.
“Our decision to start from the pit lane was good” Peter continued “but unfortunately we lost a lap on the 99 car with the safety car. It was a tough weekend; although our cars are 1.7 seconds quicker than last year at Monza the field of 12 GT2 class is of very high quality and sometimes it was a though battle”.
The trailers are already on their way home; all time will be required to prepare the cars for the next race in two weeks time at Spa, Belgium.
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