It was a speedy weekend in Spa. It was non-stop but I like that as you have to work fast and be as efficient as possible, with practice and qualifying being in the same day.
As usual, and I wouldn’t expect it any differently, the weather was challenging all day on Friday. Wet, dry, wet, dry, greasy… Slicks, inters, wets!
It’s funny but I do like it that way. We started with a wet practice and it was perfect. The Michelins worked well on the wet track and the car was just perfect to drive all session.
We all got to drive the car and get the track habits in our head, finishing P1, which was nice too.
The second session was good as well. We hoped for a good balance with the medium Michelin tires, especially in the fast corners.
The car was fast and safe, but I do wish the car had a little more power, so Eau Rouge could be a bit more challenging. It was flat-out every lap!
When it came to qualifying, it had started to rain but soon stopped. As I was preparing to get in the car, I asked Gimmi Bruni, who had just qualified on pole in GTE-Pro, what kind of tires we should use.
Slicks was the answer and what a choice! It was a bit difficult on the first lap but after that, we did have a lot of pace.
Maurizio went after me but we got bumped from the pole in the last minute. It was at least much better run than Silverstone.
We had high hopes for the race. Our pace was better and we started at the front, but better was not good enough as we were still lacking pace in the dry.
SMP Racing and all of the engineers did a massive amount of work finding a setup to make us more competitive.
The start of the race was a mess. The KCMG car was slow and I didn’t back off and got caught for jumping the start. I was just too greedy, I suppose…
I completed the first stint in second until the stop-and-go-penalty and my second stint was much harder. I had quite a bit of drop off and started to get massive oversteer.
Sergey went after me. His pace was good and he didn’t make any mistakes and it was an incredible pit stop by the crew.
We are clearly the fastest in the pit lane. When you come into the box, there is no worry ever, that you will gain something out of it. They are all like machines.
Maurizio did a solid double-stint too and I finished the race. We saved fuel so we wouldn’t have to make a splash in the end.
The result was not what we were expecting. There’s always pluses and minuses, but this weekend was all around a plus.
We came to the track being more competitive and we know it’s only going to get better from here.
We have a good test session planned before the Le Mans Test Day and I am confident that we’ll be able to show proper pace at Le Mans and be closer to the front.
It would be nice to write this debrief next time as a Le Mans LMP2 winner!