Author Topic: 2018 WEC Spa  (Read 7191 times)

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2018, 01:37:28 PM »
I am happy to report an alternative live timing site The Racing Line has a working positions board for WEC. The #54 Spirit of Race is now 8th, having changed its driver. Congratulations to Francesco on an excellent opening stint; may Thomas Flohr, who's taken over the car, perform just as well :)

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2018, 01:39:18 PM »
Ouch! The #67 Ford (Tincknell) crashed straight after its pit stop, quite heavily. It looks like Harry Tincknell is fine, but there is a Safety Car so the broken car can be safely removed.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2018, 01:43:04 PM »
Please note that the first stop for the #54 was 1 hour and 2 minutes after the start of the race. Expect there to be 4 more stops for the #54 this race.

There is now a photo of the #67 Ford. There is nothing left in front of the safety cell. Thankfully, that safety cell is completely intact and has done its job excellently.


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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2018, 01:50:15 PM »
Green flag due fairly soon, but the barrier needs repairs first.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2018, 01:52:19 PM »
Here is a GTE-Am preview from Daily Sportscar, with a nice bit in there about Fisico being good for the GTE-Am class :)

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2018, 01:53:15 PM »
The #29 LMP2 car has pitted with technical issues and will be repaired in the garage.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2018, 01:58:41 PM »
After a bunch of people pitted, Thomas is now 5th in class with the #54 Spirit of Race. Not that many people in the commentary teams have noticed, because Fernando Alonso has just led his first lap in WEC (he's in the #8 Toyota, which pitted at the right time and has now seen its rivals ahead of it pit.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2018, 02:00:54 PM »
I have just been sent another live timing link if anyone wants one - 71 Wytham.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2018, 02:05:52 PM »
The race is green again!

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2018, 02:07:38 PM »
For a moment, it looked like the #54 Spirit of Race was leading the Am class, but it was just a timing glitch. Thomas is still 5th in class.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2018, 02:12:10 PM »
Thomas just got overtaken by the #61 Clearwater (Mok), and is down to 6th in class.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2018, 02:15:51 PM »
Thomas appears to have found a pace that works for him. It's slightly slower than the cars ahead, but the next car behind is a lap back. Hopefully Fisico can get it all back.

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2018, 11:18:13 PM »
My computer picked a really bad time to crash  :'(

While I managed to eventually get one of my laptops to connect to the internet, it was apparently only capable of getting Radio Le Mans working. So I will do my best to summarise the rest of the race.

Good news:

Fisico and his colleagues finished the race without injury and with their car still running. There were points in this race where getting even that much seemed doubtful.

There was also a point where Fisico was able to fight with a GTE-Pro BMW. Note: the GTE-Pro Ferrari got a huge upgrade this year, and the drivers assigned to those cars were having trouble fighting the BMWs (though one of the GTE-Pro Ferraris defeated all the BMWs and got on its class podium). However, Giancarlo has the slower, original version of the car that is supposed to be 1-2 seconds a lap slower than the new version. Yet here he was, fighting with the latest-spec BMW (that, being a Pro car, would have had a good driver on board. This is yet another proof that Fisico is a great racer.

Fisico also got interviewed twice on Radio Le Mans (both in the last 2 hours of the race coverage, which are in Part 2 of the RLM podcast)

Bad news:

Their race got completely and utterly ruined.

It turns out that at the start of the race, unseen by me, the Spirit of Race got hit by the #70 MR Ferrari doing some odd braking ahead of it (a fellow GTE-Am competitor). Francesco, who was driving the #54 Spirit of Race at the time, was sent into a spin. The incident made it onto the highlights reel (Youtube-based link) The latter got a warning for poor driving standards for this, the penalty being so low as neither car appeared to suffer for it at that point. I cannot help but wonder if this may have contributed to some of the #54's later problems.

Thomas Flohr took the car across a gravel trap shortly after my computer crashed, though this did not lose much time either, meaning the car was still in a half-decent position when Fisico took over (hence his fight with a Pro BMW).

The car had to be pitted for 7 laps to repair a gearbox problem near the halfway point of the race. I believe Fisico was driving at the time. Just to compound things, there was also a stop/go penalty at some point, because one of the drivers was speeding in the pit lane, possibly due to frustration.

just when it looked like the car could cruise to the end with a secure 7th in GTE-Am, an hour before the end, there was a horrendous crash. One of the SMP cars launched skywards at Radillon and only touched the ground again just before the barrier. It was a horrible crash - and the #54 was stopped quite near the suspected site of launch, which had that been so would have meant it got hit by a huge amount of energy. Possibly injury-level energy.

Thankfully, it was "only" having an electronics problem and the SMP had launched all by itself. But it had been close. Francesco Castellaci (who was in the car at the time) got it back to the pits and Fisico took over for the final stint, but by then the damage was done and 8th (last-but-one) GTE-Am was all that was possible (PDF link).

It could have been worse, though:

- Pietro Fittipaldi had a horrific accident in qualifying and has had surgery to his left leg and from what I understand, also has a fractured right ankle. Both have complex fractures. He'll be in hospital for the next few days, then need a few weeks to recover. His participation in Le Mans is looking a bit doubtful and he has almost no chance of making it into the Indy 500 he's due to do in 3 weeks' time.

- Manor's LMP2 team had cashflow problems and could not compete at Spa at all.

- There was a scary pitlane crash partway through the race, triggered by the #51 AF Corse being released into the path of a #56 GTE-Am Project 1 Porsche. Nobody was injured... ...and nobody is quite sure how injuries were avoided.

- The #1 Rebellion got excluded post-race from 3rd overall. All that effort wasted due to excessive plank wear...

- Michelin got a fine of 250,000 - the most money anyone has been fined in WEC - for bringing its tyres to the track late.

None of this is likely to be much comfort to Fisico, Francesco, Thomas or Spirit of Race. We cannot ask for more from Fisico (or Francesco for that matter), who drove superbly. Unfortunately just about everything else went wrong. Let's hope Le Mans, and Fisico's other races, are much more successful.

By the way, the #98 Aston Martin won GTE-Am, followed by the #90 TF Sport (which Castellaci passed early in the race... ) and the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari.

Finally, here is a photo of the WEC field, before all this started. Fisico is in the 4th row, second from right, in hat and sunglasses.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 12:26:25 AM by Administrator »

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Re: 2018 WEC Spa
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2018, 09:35:30 AM »
The GTE-Am lap spread has been released. Fisico was the 5th-fastest driver, and the fastest Ferrari driver. Definitely showing his class as a Platinum-level driver.

Frederico's speed was also good overall (he was 13th fastest in the class, is the 4th-fastest Ferrari driver in the class out of 9, despite being a Silver-level, and two of the drivers ahead of him - Fisico and Olivier Beretta - are long-established sportscar racers with Platinum licences). The thing he should most be proud of is his consistency. The only driver I can see in the class with better consistency is Keita Sawa, and both managed to get their top 30 laps within a second of their average speed. (Fisico did not manage this, but that's expected - faster drivers tend to encounter more traffic and this affects their consistency, and Fisico in any case did later stints, which in a race with only 2 retirements, tends to mean more laps affected by traffic. The remarkable thing is that Frederico and Keita managed to be so consistent while being above-average speed).

Thomas had a tough time of it - second-slowest driver in the class (8th-fastest Ferrari driver out of 9), though he is the faster of the two Bronze-rated Ferrari drivers. He's relatively consistent for a Bronze driver, but unfortunately he was let down by a few particularly slow laps. Otherwise, he could have been the fastest Bronze-rated Ferrari driver.