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TANDY: Spa Debrief

Nick Tandy files his Sportscar365 column following the WEC 6H Spa…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

To start with, it was great to be back on pole position, and it was nice to see the car have some really strong pace on a Qualifying run, something we lacked a little bit at Silverstone.

Neel [Jani] and Andre [Lotterer] did two really super laps and it was the fact that both of our guys put really good laps in, even though we weren’t the fastest single lap, meant it was our car on pole.

That was a really nice start to the weekend.

It was a pretty standard race, and the car ran very well which is pleasing after two rounds going into Le Mans, knowing that the car has been really reliable.

But unfortunately we fell back primarily on pace to the Toyotas, which was a shame.

They seemed to look after the tires better over a double stint, more than we did this weekend, which was a little bit different to Silverstone. We’ll have to look at the differences and what we can do for different rounds.

Then, the big talking point from our weekend – we dropped about a-minute-and-a-half due to untimely Full Course Yellows for our car.

The first FCY came out as we were in the middle of a stop, so we lost around half-a-minute, and then the second time, the FCY came out just as we had left the pit.

We dropped a minute on the sister car and the No. 8 Toyota, which were able to pit during the Full Course Yellow.

It was the same for the No. 7 Toyota. They looked like they were on for a very comfortable victory and again they had their race taken away by bad luck with the Full Course Yellow, so I feel for those guys.

Everybody appreciates that when there is something on track, the race needs to be neutralized so that the marshals can get on track and deal with what’s happening. That’s a given, that will always happen and it always needs to happen.

But it’s tough to take when these sort of situations take cars out of the race through no fault of anybody. You can win or lose one minute with a pit stop under Full Course Yellow at Spa.

I’ve raced for many years in IMSA, and when this sort of thing happens, the race goes under safety car and the pits are closed, save for emergency service.

The chance of getting a big advantage is somewhat nullified by the fact that everybody’s in the same situation and everybody’s got the same opportunity to pit and then regain the pack before the race goes green again.

If you’ve got a big lead, then yes, you lose your lead, but not your position. At least it kind of restarts the race, whereas we found out at Spa that if you get caught out it can really hurt a race, and that’s what happened to us and the No. 7 Toyota.

It was tough to watch, it was tough to take, but it’s not the end of the world. We still scored a point in Qualifying, and we still scored points for fourth.

We’re third in the championship and it’s not like we had a DNF or a zero points-score. We’ll try and get all of our bad luck out of the way before Le Mans.

Clearly Toyota have been better than us on pace in the first two rounds, with their two main cars, but the one thing that we can take from Spa is that we looked consistently quicker in the race than the No. 9 car running in Le Mans configuration like us.

That’s a plus point, looking at the cars that both manufacturers will be taking to Le Mans.

But of course Spa is a track that should equalize aero configurations a bit more, and the fact that we were a bit slower than the No. 7 and No. 8 car in race trim is concerning, but we’ve got a test coming up in Aragon this coming week as Le Mans prep.

The work there will be not only to try and keep the car reliable but to keep working on our pace.

The chances of at least some of the five LMP1-H cars having a clean run at Le Mans is quite high, so you’ve still got to look to be able to win it on pace alone.

Nick Tandy (@NickTandyR) is the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner and Porsche LMP1 factory driver, driving for the German manufacturer in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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