Spa 24h: Last Gasp Effort Puts Lamy and the Larbre Saleen on Pole

A great last lap from Lamy put the Larbre Saleen S7R on Pole

Pole position for the 2008 edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa went right down to the final minutes of qualifying; when the chequered flag fell on Friday afternoon it was Pedro Lamy who was fastest, putting the nr 7 Larbre Competition Saleen S7R at the head of the field. Thomas Biagi, the reigning FIA GT Champion, was fastest in GT2 in the nr 51 AF Corse Ferrari F430; quickest G2 car was the nr 102 McDonald’s Racing Porsche 996 Bi-Turbo, while the nr 123 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S headed the big G3 field. The Total 24 Hours of Spa will get under way at the traditional time of 4pm on Saturday, with 44 cars taking the start.


Until the final ten minutes of qualifying, it looked like the best time of Thursday would be good enough, which would have put the nr 33 Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DB9 on pole – but as Friday’s session went on, others closed in on that time. Halfway through the 45-minute session Marcel Fässler , in the nr 6 Phoenix Carsport Corvette Z.06, put together a sequence of laps which saw him rise to fourth, then third, then second, on successive laps – but then the session was red-flagged to allow a stranded Porsche to be recovered. When the session restarted it was Lamy who was immediately quick – his first flying lap claimed provisional pole. Fässler then improved to second, but with only two minutes remaining Lamy went even quicker, his 2:13.923 the only lap to break the 2:14 barrier. Fässler had done enough to claim second, with the Jetalliance car third.

The nr 3 SRT Corvette C6R will start from fourth position, the team having worked hard to repair the car further to Bouchut’s crash in first qualifying, and the Stewards of the meeting having given them permission to start despite missing night qualifying. The nr 1 Vitaphone Maserati will be fifth, ahead of the second Phoenix Corvette, with the nr 1 Maserati seventh alongside the IPB Spartak Lamborghini. With five makes in the top eight, and only 1.2 seconds separating them, the grid could hardly be closer !

AF Corse continued their great 2008 form to take GT2 pole


In contrast to the GT1 category, the front of the GT2 grid was set after the first qualifying session on Thursday afternoon – none of the top seven improved their times in either of the remaining sessions. In fact, the nr 51 AF Corse Ferrari didn’t complete a single lap on Friday, claiming the class pole by just over a quarter of a second from the nr 77 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari F430. The class is exclusively a Ferrari-Porsche battle; the nr 76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RS car was third.

CR Scuderia’s nr 56 Ferrari were fourth, ahead of the two Prospeed Competition Porsches, meaning three Ferrari and three Porsche cars in the top six for a well-balanced grid.

The nr 50 AF Corse Ferrari, victorious in three rounds so far this season, was eighth after an engine change last night. However, the car will start from the back of the grid.

The nr 102 McDonald’s Racing Porsche 996 Bi-Turbo was the clear winner in G2, well clear of the nr 101 Belgian Racing Gillet Vertigo. However the McDonald’s car ended the final qualifying session on the back of a recovery truck with a broken right rear suspension. The nr 123 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche was well clear of the G3 pack, with a time set on Thursday afternoon; second was claimed on Friday by the nr 122 Team Eurotech Ascari KZ1R, ahead of the nr 108 Ice Pole Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S. G3 is particularly closely fought – less than a second covers the cars in second to sixth places.

The quickest of the cars entered in the Coupe du Roi was the nr 182 JMB Racing Ferrari F430, well clear of the sister nr 181 entry.

Jet Alliance was fastest after the first day of qualifying but could not hang onto pole


Just as in 2007, Karl Wendlinger was on provisional pole overnight after lapping the 7.004km circuit in 2:14.581. The time was set very early in the first 60-minutes session, and remained unbeaten for the rest of the day. The nr 3 Selleslagh Racing Corvette Z.06 was second quickest; however, the car was in need of substantial repairs after a huge crash near the end of the first session. Christophe Bouchut, who had earlier lapped in 2:14.755, lost control in the middle of Blanchimont – a point where the car was travelling at over 260km/h. He spun backwards into the tyre barriers, which did a good job of stopping the car; Bouchut was bruised and battered, but got out of the car unaided. The red flag was immediately put out, and Bouchut was taken to hospital for precautionary checks. As soon as the car was returned, the team set about repairing it ready for the race.


Although the session did not change the provisional combined qualifying order, the second night qualifying session was important in that it allowed the drivers to complete their obligatory night laps. The fastest time in the session, four seconds slower than in the earlier day session, was set by the nr 6 Phoenix Carsport Corvette C6R, ahead of the nr 33 Jetalliance Aston Martin, with the two Vitaphone Maserati cars third and fourth.

The best GT2 lap was set by the nr 77 BMS SCuderia Italia Ferrari 430 GT2, ahead of the nr 56 CR Scuderia car and the nr 51 AF Corse Ferrari 430 GT2. The leader G2 car, the Belgian Racing Vertigo, was 22nd overall, with the leading G3 car, the nr 145 First Motorsport Porsche, 24th and the leading Coupe du Roi car was the nr 182 in 21st overall.

Times to come...