Tensions rose as the last round of the Raceroom Endurance Series approached last Sunday. The final round challenged the drivers and their teams to a 2 hour dash to the finish line as all 4 titles were up for grabs!
The battles were underway as the competitors entered the Qualifying session at Spa. In lmp2 it was Georg Ortner who stole pole position from John Dalton and J.Schelstaete by 0.0970 seconds! The battle for pole position in GT3 was also close, with R.Arella taking the front row by just 0.05 seconds from the Ford GT of Jeremy Mook!
The lights turned green and the 2 Hours of Spa had begun. A good start from John Dalton in the No.07 Radical would see him take the lead at turn 1 with Georg Ortner close behind. In GT3 however chaos would strike Jeremy Mook as the car fails to move off the start line, causing contact with a few of the cars behind.
As John Dalton Climbed Eal rouge for the first time in his lmp2 the rest of the GT3 field was already fighting fiercly for track position. After a hectic start the GT3 field was thrown into disarray with drivers taking advantage of the front rows trying to avoid a collision.
Several laps into the race the fighting continued, with M.Sanderson, D.Boon, C.Mathieson, C.Durselen and K.Sulkiewicz fighting for 5th in class! Not 1 second further up the road was the battle for 3rd in class between J.Forsberg and J.Mitcheel who had an amazing start to the race.
In lmp2 the pole man Gorge Ortner would go off track on the run down to Eal Rouge as his Radical SR9 struggled for grip, he would fall down to 4th in class a result, allowing J.Dalton to retain the lead.
In GT3 M.Sanderson was able to catch up to J.Mitchell. The two fought for x2 laps for 4th in class, however M.Sanderson was able to take the position while going into Eal Rouge on the inside line. We saw a Valiant attempt to take the position back by J.Mitchell through La Combe but good defending from the Garage 59 driver would see him hold the position.
On the very same lap. C.Mathieson went wide while entering turn 14 (Campus) allowing D.Boon in the other Garage 59 Mclaren to move into 6th. Meanwhile at the front of the pack, R.Arella and R.Indyka were using this time wisely, putting down fast and consistent lap times to gain a comfortable lead.
The first pit stops began to take place and the two categories started to come across one another. Leading the charge into the GT3 traffic was J.Dalton, weaving in and out of the field he collided with J.Forsberg as they both entered the bus stop. Both would be able to continue the race.
Half way into the race and the fight for the top spot in LMP2 had not changed, J.Dalton still led the way with G.Ortner right on his tail. Also in on the fight was the #26 driven by Goerges Deurwaerder for R2GT motorsport, who had made an amazing recovery drive after the start.
In GT3 Jeremy Mook took the inside line of turn 1, stealing 4th in class from the Audi driver of C.Mathieson. Also battleing for position was L.Bitala and the Mercedes of Dirk Bachmann. Dirk would eventually pass the BMW driver to take 12th in class which would turn out to be a fatal blow for BMW team.
Back in LMP2 there was another change in the lead as J.Schelstraete chose a different tactic from the front runners! However he would make a mistake coming out of turn 1, allowing both J.dalton and G.Ortner to retake the lead.
As the race came to an end the GT3 field appeared to spread out, tired and fatigued from constant fighting, gaps began to emerge between the cars. R.Arella had once again used the battles behind him to expand his lead to take a comfortable lead. However it would be Garage 59 who would be smiling as they finished 2nd and 3rd which would be enough to guarentee the Constructors title in GT3.
In lmp2 the fighting continued, Sven Jansen and G.Deurwaerder even went two wide going through the mighty Eal Rouge. Panels bashed and a bit of body paint was exchanged as they both wrestled to get to the top of the famous hill before having a drag race down towards La Combe. However it would be J.Schestraete who would take 3rd in class as he got a brilliant exit onto the long straight, taking both of the postions in one move!
Further up the order was J.Dalton and G.Ortner who had been 1 second apart for at least an hour. Nothing could seperate the two drivers as they put everything on the line for the final victory of the season. The Last lap was announced, J.Dalton was looking for every opportunity to pass as they entered La Combe. Good defending by Georg meant he was able to hold off the #07 Car by the skin of his teeth. Both cars crossed the line with just 0.0790 seconds between them!
John dalton would steal the Drivers championship by just 4 points! This has once again displayed just how competitive the competition is here at RES. The final round meant that drivers put everything on the line, all four titles were up for grabs here and the drivers knew it was do or die that sunday.
RES will return in January for a mini season and much much more action. Dont forget to keep an eye out, and if your new to CFEG, dont hesistate to join in on the action.
Thanks for reading, i will see you all after Xmas for the next De-brief :)