SPA 24hr endurance race
2CVTV went to Spa to cover for one of the English teams. We arrived on Friday afternoon to find Belgian 2cv-er Pierre Foucant and his colleagues setting up the campsite; on the course qualifying was well under way. We visited the pits and found the two English teams - car 53 (drivers Mason, Myatt, Dalton , Sparrow) and car 39 (drivers Whitley, Adnitt, O'Keefe) sharing a pit, both cars did well achieving 8th and 9th places.
During the warm up on Saturday morning 53 'swallowed a valve' destroying a cylinder. As no matching replacement was available, the problem was solved by installing a different type of cylinder - unconventional but it worked.
At two o'clock the Shopping Centre car park was full of 2cvs which are permitted to do a lap of the track before the race.
A marching band played in front of the grandstands, the cars lined up on the grid with the two English teams in the 4 th and 5 th rows, then there was time for a group photograph of all the drivers. The cars moved off for the warm up lap then lined up again for the start of the race which got under way at one minute past four and, unusually for Spa, the sun was shining.Time moved on, it became dark and the rain started, which slowed down the faster cars.
It rained hard during the night, but in the morning the sun came out again drying the track.
With four hours to go both cars were doing well. The Stealth Racing team's (39) car in 8th place was using oil at a furious rate and the main concern was whether they had enough oil to finish the race! Car 53 was bowling along in 5th place and in the pit Peter Sparrow was getting ready to take over the driving. Then disaster struck, the cylinder that had been performing so well exploded with no warning and the car came to a halt in the Formula 1 pit lane. Frantic communications took place between the pit team and the car. The driver was not in a mood to be beaten, so he pushed the car all the way back to the pit. After viewing the damage it was clear that a huge amount of work would be needed for the car to finish the race. One of the other teams offered to loan an engine. The decision was made to retire. There probably wasn't enough time to do the work and other parts of the car might be damaged in the process. So the team will repair car 53 off the track to get it ready for the final race of the 2003 season in November.
Car 39 did not run out of oil and finished the race in 7th place.