After a long break in the Le Mans Series calendar, the last race was at Spa in May, the championship continued this weekend with the Nürburgring 1000 km. In the hard-fought race, the #85 SNORAS Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R finished in fifth place.
Just before noon the Spyker Laviolette’s left their pit box to be positioned on the grid. The race started just after twelve o’clock with the traditional Le Mans rolling start. The by Andrea Chiesa and Benjamin Leuenberger driven #94 Spyker C8 of Swiss Speedy Racing team started from a 9th position on the grid and the second Spyker on the grid today, the #85 SNORAS Spyker Squadron car, driven by Peter Dumbreck, Ralf Kelleners and Alexei Vasiliev qualified 1.7 seconds from the class leader and started from a 7th place.
Peter Dumbreck started the race this afternoon and gradually won a few positions. After his first stint he handed the car over to Ralf Kelleners. Ralf improved the quickest lap time at the end of his 1 hour stint and proved that the Michelin rubber did its work well. At twelve minutes past two o’clock, after almost two hours of racing, he returned the car in P4. Alexei took over and rejoined the field with fresh tires and a full tank of fuel. After this trouble-free stint he returned to the pit running in a sixth position.
Peter rejoined in a seventh position, just behind the #94 sister car, and immediately improved the car’s quickest time twice in a row. After 40 minutes he warned the team that he was hit by one of the Audi prototypes. Although the right mirror was lost in the incident the car was fortunately not further damaged. In the next stint, when Ralf Kelleners took over from Peter Dumbreck, the right mirror would have been handy to see an approaching Porsche prototype. The Porsche LMP tried to overtake the Spyker at the end of the straight on the right whilst there was no room at all. The LMP hit the Spyker on the side and as a result the Spyker spun. Ralf quickly rejoined but lost valuable seconds.
In the last stages of the race Peter Dumbreck pushed the car to its limit but it was difficult to close the gap to the car in front. After almost six hours of racing the car finished in fifth position.
“We are much more competitive than in the past” said Ralf Kelleners just after the race. “The first two cars are of a different world but the gap to the quicker cars is quite a bit smaller now. By the speed on the straight you can tell that the engine is a lot better. After our finish in the Omnitel 1000 km, and a good position here, I can only say we are going in the right direction”.
In the other car, the #94 Speedy Racing Team car, Benjamin Leuenberger started the race. The pace of Andrea Chiesa and Benjamin Leuenberger was good and they hovered around a seventh position in the competitive GT2 field. A pit stop of Spyker’s neighbor LMP team caused the Speedy Racing Spyker a lot of time: the LMP entered the pit lane just before Benjamin did and drove half speed to the box. The Swiss team already lost 10 seconds there and the LMP driver also parked the prototype in such way that it took the Spyker crew valuable seconds to maneuver the Spyker C8 to the right position to refuel. 30 minutes before the end of the race their race came to a stop when Benjamin returned to the pit box with an Engine problem.
Andrea Chiesa: “It is always frustrating when you will not see the checkered flag. Apparently today it was not our day – we struggled a bit with the setup. The guys in the #85 managed to get a much better setup and produced better and more consistent lap times in the race. Then also we also had problems with one of the pit stops and lost a lot of time. I was quite surprised that the engine broke; I was happy with the power output of the new engine configuration. Peter and the team did a very good job on the engine; compared to the other cars we are not loosing time and it is a big step forward for us. We now have to continue to work to further improve reliability to be able to score points”.
Peter van Erp, managing director Spyker Squadron: “We did well in all free practice sessions and our performance in the race was also good. I have not seen such competitive times in the Le Mans Series GT2 class: the Virgo car is of a different world and Porsche did well with their new ultra economic 4.0 liter engines. We are competing in the top-5 and the drivers of both cars were very happy with the performance. For podiums though, we need to further improve our pace. Unfortunately the Speedy car did not reach the finish”.