A well lubricated 2022 Spa Six Hours vintage!
Spa Six Hours Endurance
The flagship event of the meeting, the Spa Six Hours Endurance was breath taking, but also hindered by numerous neutralisations on Saturday between 15.55hrs and 21.55hrs. The ever-changing climatic conditions did not make the drivers’ tasks any easier, and certain cars were unable to avoid violently coming into contact with the protective walls. Not to mention, of course, the gravel traps which welcomed a significant number of machines.
Pole holders, David Hart, Olivier Hart and Nicky Pastorelli (Ford GT40) were constantly in the leading group, increasing the pace in the second half of the race, avoiding any mistakes and claiming an undisputed victory. This was David Hart’s second victory, fifteen years after his first with a Ford Mustang. The Ford GT40 won for the 15th time in 29 editions, and its 11th consecutive victory.
The battle for second place was between the GT40 #4 Gipimotor of Emile Breittmayer, Christophe Van Riet and Fred Bouvy, which experienced a poor start (Van Riet spun at the Source at the start!), but brilliantly climbed back up to the top of the pack, only to be forced to throw in the towel due to engine issues.
It was finally the excellent Frenchmen Olivier Galant and Nicolas Minassian who grabbed 2nd place ahead of the 2021 winners, Oliver Bryant and James Cottingham.
Having lost time as the result of a puncture, Eric van de Poele, teamed up with the Ford CEO Jim Farley, put in a spectacular recovery up into 5th place in the final moments of the race, which earned the Belgian driver the 'Prix Beurlys' rewarding the best black-yellow-red representative this Saturday.
Worth noting the excellent 6th place of the Lotus Elan 26 R manned by Sam Tordoff, John Tordoff and Andrew Jordan, which obviously won its category. This was also the case for Serge Libens and Thomas Dozin (Ford Mustang), who came out on top in Touring, while Vanina Ickx (Ford Falcon Sprint) climbed onto the third tread of the podium following a race marred by a broken accelerator cable.
Belcar Historic Cup
It was the competitors of the Belcar Historic Cup who had the privilege of opening the debate on Saturday morning … under a downpour! Following a lively qualifying session, the competitors of the Belgian national competition showed a certain mastery, and if the Dutchman Wim Kuijl (Ford Capri RS 3100) had claimed pole position, he was soon back in the pack, leaving the door open to Erik Bruynoghe (Porsche 964) and Erik Qvick (BMW 320 Turbo Gr.5). The Bavarian car was forced to retire due to engine problems, giving Bruynoghe the victory, in front of an excellent Tom Van Rompuy (BMW M3 E30), and multiple champion Luc Moortgat (Porsche 964). Worth noting a top 5 for Christophe Van Riet (BMW M3 E30), who had to give in to the Dutchman Tim Kuijl (BMW 325i E36) following a mistake at Les Combes.
The rain was still on hand at the end of the day on Sunday for Race 2, and several cars were missing, namely the BMW of Christophe Van Riet and Fred Bouvy’s Volvo. Luc Moortgat promptly grabbed the lead and cruised to victory, while behind him the battle raged through to the end between the BMW M3 E30 models of the Dutchman Fred Krab and the Belgian Guy Fastres, who finished in that order after a furious battle. In the top 10 overall, the other winners in their category, namely the British driver Grahame Bryant (Morgan +8), the Belgian Luc Branckaerts (Chevrolet Corvette C3), the Italian Andrea Tessaro (Dallara X1/9) and the Belgian Guy François (Nissan Primera BTCC). Enough to demonstrate the highly international character of the national historic circuit competition this weekend…
Historic Grand Prix Cars Association Pre-66
The weather remained grey and miserable when the Pre-66 Grand Prix cars took to the track on Saturday morning. With front and rear engine single-seaters, reminiscent of the first decades of the Formula 1 world championship. Cars that were once driven by Fangio, Clark, Hill, Stewart and others. It was the Cooper machines that set the tone under complicated conditions, with Charlie Martin (T53), 5th on the grid, climbing to the top of the ranking to claim victory ahead of pole holder Michael Gans (T59) and Justin Maeers (T53). We expected a legendary Maserati 250 F with the front mounted engine, and John Spiers was well on his way to honouring the history of his mount … prior to coming to a standstill within sight of the finish, victim of transmission issues! Klaus Lehr saved the honour of the Trident make getting the better of the spectacular Scarab of the Irishman Eddie McGuire and the Cooper Bristol MKII of the Belgian Erik Staes, who put in a spectacular climb back up through the pack …
Same scenario on Sunday on a rain-soaked track, with Charlie Martin imposing his Cooper T53 for the second time ahead of the American Michael Gans. This time around it was the former Graham Hill Brabham BT3/4 of Tim Child that completed the top 3. In the front engine category, the Maserati 250 F of John Spiers did not experience any issues, the British driver finishing ahead of Klaus Lehr and Erik Staes. In other words, a double podium for the Belgian driver.
Masters Endurance Legends
It was a 100% Peugeot front row that the Spa Six Hours spectators were able to appreciate for the event reserved for the ‘not so old’ machines, with the British driver Kriton Lendoudis (908 HDI FAP) ahead of fellow countryman Steve Tandy (90X). At the wheel of the superb Gulf liveried Lola Aston Martin, Christophe d’Ansembourg was soon in the lead, hounded to the finish by Tandy, whilst in the battle for 3rd place, Antoine d’Ansembourg (Dallara Oreca), Christophe’s son, got the better of Lendoudis. Just when everyone thought that the Lola Aston Martin was in a position to win, Tandy managed to take advantage of d’Ansembourg’s brake problems to get the better at Les Combes and win the race. But with two members of the d’Ansembourg family on the podium, the Belgian colours were well represented. It was the Swiss driver Andy Feigenwinter (Porsche 997 GT3 R) who came out on top in the GT category.
Weather conditions were tricky when Race 2 set off under the safety car on Sunday. In the absence of the Lola Aston Martin of Christophe d’Ansembourg, the Peugeot 90X and 908 enjoyed a field day, and if Steve Tandy dominated the first half of the race, it was Kriton Lendoudis who burst into the lead after the mandatory passage via the pitlane... prior to spinning at Les Combes, no doubt due to an oil spill left by the Lotus Evora GTE of Daniel Palma! This was enough for Steve Brooks, who had taken over from Steve Tandy, to claim victory, ahead of the unfortunate Lendoudis and the Ligier JS P2 of Stuart Wiltshire. In GT, it was Marcus Graf Von Oeynhausen who claimed his revenge with the former WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 up against the Porsche of Andy Feigenwinter.
Woodcote Trophy & Stirling Moss Trophy
The ‘50s were in the spotlight with the Woodcote Trophy and Stirling Moss Trophy brought together on the dot of midday on Saturday. Under the rain Nigel Greensall took the best start with his Lister Knobbly, quickly pulling away from Michael Gans (Lotus XV) and Tony Wood (Lister Knobbly). In the second part of the race, John Spiers, Greensall’s teammate, was unable to hold off the comeback of Will Nuthall, allowing the Lister #8 to take the overall win. The overall podium and that of the Stirling Moss Trophy was completed by the Lotus XV of Michael Gans. The Woodcote Trophy was totally dominated by the gorgeous Jaguar C-Type of Rudiger Friedrichs, ahead of the Allard J2 of the Llewellyn family and the Lotus MkX of Paul and Bourne.
Historic Formula Junior
Having written some great pages in motorsport history between 1958 and 1963, Formula Junior enjoys a great deal of popularity at historic meetings. And even though the Lotus cars had dominated the qualifying sessions, the Alexis of Stuart Roach provided the show during the race on Saturday, the British driver making a clear-cut claim towards victory when up against Manfredo Rossi di Montelera. But the Italian had his way, imposing his Lotus 22. It was another Lotus, the 27 manned by the Swiss Philipp Buhofer, who completed the podium notwithstanding a spin near the end of the race. Worth noting a top 5 from the Belgian Christian Lange at the wheel of his Envoy…
Unfortunately, heavy rain was on call on Sunday morning for Race 2, but not enough to prevent Manfredo Rossi di Montelera from doubling his score up against Stuart Roach. In the absence of Philipp Buhofer, it was Sam Wilson who emerged in 3rd spot at the wheel of the Lotus 20 driven the previous day by the Belgian Hans Ciers.
Pre-War Sports Cars
The oldest cars, dating from the ‘20s and ‘30s, are always greatly appreciated by the general public. And if it was the ‘Racing Specials’ machines of Maeers-Maeers (GN Parker) and Llewellyn-Llewellyn (Bentley 3/8) who were the favourites, it was the frailer Alta Sports 1939, and its 2 litres engine, driven by Gareth Burnett who had the last word, getting the better of the Talbot AV105 Brooklands of Michael Birch and the Bentley 3/4 ½ of Clive and James Morley. Some amazing machines, with a unique sound, that can but tickle one’s curiosity …
Master Racing Legends F1
Belgian victory! On Saturday afternoon Christophe D’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C ex-Reutemann) set off from pole position, and during 11 laps he crossed swords with the British driver Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1 ex-John Watson), who never managed to find an opening. It was attack upon attack, but the Williams retained the lead over the McLaren! Among the favourites Marco Werner (Lotus 87B ex-Nigel Mansell) had to make do with 3rd place ahead of the Lotus 92 ex-Nigel Mansell of the British driver Michael Lyons and the gorgeous Embassy Hill ex-Graham Hill of the Australian Jamie Davison, winner of his category.
Winner of the previous day’s race, d’Ansembourg was unfortunately absent from Sunday’s starting grid. Following a start behind the Safety Car on a rain-soaked track, the cars were able to give it their all, and the Embassy Hill of Jamie Davison gave way to the Lotus of Michael Lyons and Marco Werner. The German, three times winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, put pressure on the British driver and finally overtook him, to charge off to an authoritarian victory under tricky conditions. Michael Lyons and Steve Hartley completed the podium, while Davison once again won his category, well ahead of the Lotus 77 of Nick Padmore, who had climbed back up from the bottom of the pack.
Masters Gentlemen Drivers
A mixture of pre-1966 Touring and Grand Touring cars on Sunday morning for a semi endurance 90 minutes race (60 minutes for the Touring Cars) held under the pouring rain. Despite a few incidents the competitors gave it their all, and under these aquatic conditions it was the Jaguar E-Type that came out on top to claim a superb double score, with the renowned Rhea Sautter, teamed up with Andy Newall, just getting the better of Markus Graf von Oeynhausen. The overall podium was completed by the Shelby Cobra of Niklaus Ditting and Sam Hancock. On the Touring Car front the Dutchman Olivier Hart continued his successful weekend, bringing the spectacular Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA home ahead of the Ford Falcon Sprint of British driver Sam Tordoff and the Ford Falcon of the Brit Tim Scott Andrews.
Masters Sports Cars Legends
Extremely tricky conditions for the competitors of the Masters Sports Cars Legends and their super powerful Prototypes! The Lola T70 of Hart-Hart and Minshaw-Keen, as also the McLaren M1A of Shaw were missing at the start of the race under Safety Car conditions. Tom Bradshaw (Chevron B19), driving solo on a rain-soaked track, won ahead of Manfredo Rossi di Montelera (Abarth Osella PA1) and Michael Gans (Lola T290). Once again Nigel Greensall (McLaren M1B) was impressive, claiming the Pre-66 category, and getting the better in the overall ranking of the Porsche 911 RSR of Bates-Bates, which served up a festival of sideways antics for the public.
Tribute to Jean Blaton
On Saturday afternoon, shortly before the start of the Spa Six Hours Endurance, a vibrant tribute was pais to the Belgian driver Jean Blaton, known under the pseudonym pf ‘Beurlys’, who passed away in December 2020 at the age of 91 years. Relatives, friends and personalities from the Belgian motorsport world gathered at the foot of the Raidillon for the scattering of the ashes of the man who had competed 14 times in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, appearing no less than five times on the overall podium! ‘Beurlys’ is now at rest ‘on the most beautiful circuit in the world’ which he so appreciated and frequented …