The Spa Euro Race, an event to which all the Belgians and especially the Spork Racing Team were looking forward too. A race on the world’s most beautiful racetrack that became one never to forget for the race team of Antwerp. Both the cars of the team were present and would be driven by Jimmy Adriaenssens (#423) on the one hand and Jonas De Kimpe/Vincent Van Paemel (#425) on the other. As well the drivers as their cars were in great shape for the weekend.
“In free practice already I found my Spa-rhythm, I hadn’t been out in Spa since 2012 so we had to adapt again to the higher speeds. When the qualifying started, it was clear that it wouldn’t be easy to find a free lap. With more than fifty cars out on the track there could be a chance that I wouldn’t even find a free lap at all. I increased the pace immediately and overtook a few car. After three laps I seemed to have found a free gap and launched myself. The timer noted 2.36.135, the fastest laptime ever driven within the Spork Racing Team.” explains Jimmy Adriaenssens. After a short pitstop to reset the tire pressure, the white and red Spanish bull rejoined the track for another fast lap and clocked 2.35.951. The magical 2.35 was a fact and that in much less than ideal weather conditions (over 25°C) for the two liter turbo engine. Pole position amongst the Seats for both races were ensured and the team was looking forward to the races. In Supersport, Jimmy could start from P4 and P2, as well Spork’s best results in Supercar Challenge history.
The first race was launched under a perfectly blue sky, it was a well-known fact that the temperatures would reach high values “It was a matter of finding a tight rhythm without burning the tires and to control the engine temperature. During the first laps, I ran within the leading group but I felt that the tires woudn’t last this pace. I decided to lower the pace, save the tires so I had some left for a probable fight in the end of the race. Eventually we made a good choice, because after the pitstop we ran in third place with a twenty second gap on the car in fourth position. As the team informed me that the car was approaching I increased the pace to safen the third position and our earlier decision to save the car in the beginning paid off right away.” After sixty minutes and one lap of racing, the chequered flag was shown and the first Supersport podium for Spork became true. “The first place in Supercopa and third in Supersport were the ultimate reward for the Spork Racing Team’s hard work!” continues Adriaenssens.
Considering the weather conditions, the second race was the exact opposite of the first. While on Saturday everybody carried sunscreen in one hand and a sunglasses in the other, on Sunday they were dressed to bare tons of water. During the beginning of the warm-up lap, a car in the right lane stalled. While the left lane was taking off, the right fell behind. “Initially I thought: No worries, we’ll all retrieve our correct starting position during formation. Unfortunately the track marshals started showing the ‘Safety Car’ sign, knowing a Safety Car procedure does not include a formation anymore, we were forced to start from five to ten positions behind. Quite a pity as I qualified second for this race and now had to start from P10 or worse…” explains Adriaenssens. “Once the Safety Car left the track, we had to overtake lots of slower Supersport and GT cars in zero visibility mode thanks to the spray of at least twenty cars in front of us. Only in the last laps of the first stint I finally saw the leaders in Supersport.” After the mandatory pitstop, the Antwerpian Super’SPORK’copa rejoined the track. With a headstart of only seven seconds on the Riwal-Seat everyone knew that the race was far from decided. “During the second stint I felt that my front axle started losing grip because the rain was stopping. My tire pressure went up, the contact with the surface decreased and smoothly the other Seat came closer.” When both Seats found each other a spectacular fight followed. It was obvious that Jimmy Adriaenssens wasn’t going to give up his first place. He could stop several attacks but after about two laps his competitor found an opening. “I was defending on the inside while the other Seat tried to outbrake me on the outside. He got aside of me and we went through the corner door to door. He carried a bit more speed through the corner and won a nose length which was enough for the following corner. Unfortunately I knew another car was following us, a Lotus 2/11 of a fellow Belgian. Also here I defended hard and at the bus stop chicane it seemed I had won the battle. Hoping for the chequered flag I exited the last corner and… NOTHING! No flag whatsoever while the race was actually over. I tried to maintain second for another lap, but it wasn’t meant to be.” Without the starting grid issues, Jimmy’s result could have been even better. But as racing depends on countless of variables, no one is to blame. Nevertheless Adriaenssens became third in Supersport and second in Seat Supercopa, a result that motivates Spork even more for the Superstars in Zolder soon.
The Spork Racing Team is looking forward to the next challenge, also on Belgian soil within two weeks and has set its mind on the Supersport podium again!
See enclosed PDF-files for the downloadable (Dutch) race reviews.