Spa 2003 Miles - First Two Hours
Bribery Will Get You Everywhere!

We have 40 cars on the grid as two cars do not show up. Of course, the Polo is already back home and the #53 BMW M3 broke its engine during the qualifying. The team tried to fit the engine from the crashed Duller Compact, but too many electrical gremlins prevented them from starting.

At 16.00, the field needs only one start to get away, in contrast to the 24 hours earlier this year. The #6 Lupant BMW silhouette takes the lead but Vosse seems ready to follow. After 15 laps, the gap is still less than 10 seconds. Behind, the other Silhouettes make the game - the #4 Audi is 3rd, the #9 Jaguar 4th.

The first victims are to be found among the regular Belcar competitors. Steve Van Bellingen in #8 BMW STW misses Les Combes in the opening lap and rejoins almost a lap behind. The furiously started #44 BMW Compact of Houbben comes in after only 10 laps with severe clutch problems. But the greatest victim of these opening laps is the #71 Qvick Mini. Erik is almost crying as he tells us that the gearbox is broken.

The Standings After 1 Hour
1. #6 Lupant BMW Silhouette 23 laps
2. #2 Duller M3 GTR – 10”
3. #4 Audi A4 Silhouette – 45”
4. #9 Jaguar Silhouette – 54”
5. #1 Duller M3 E36 – 2’27”
6. #10 Pino BMW Silhouette –2’31”
7. #11 Pino BMW Silhouette – 1 lap
8. #70 CTB BMW 328i
9. #3 PYC Renault Clio (2 litre)
10. #33 Duller M3 E36

Right after 17.00, the second placed Vosse / Quester etc. #2 Duller GTR M3 stops on the track. Vincent tries to push the car into the F1 pits to regain his box. It looks like some obscure electronics problem. Quester regains the track but much time is lost. And more silhouettes are suffering as #10 Alain Corbisier has to come in with a broken clutch. The #3 Clio needed a fix to the alternator.

After two hours of racing it’s the Audi silhouette in the lead, in front of the #9 X-type Jaguar (above) and the #6 BMW. The American Civic-R is in fifth place, only two laps behind.

An American Tale
A very original team in this 2003 miles race is certainly the SSR America crew. This all American squad competes in the Speed Touring car championship with a brand new Honda Civic Type R #38. They have an enviable touring car track record as they won the American championship from 1993 to 1997.

The drivers are very experienced:

Peter Halsmer drove in Indy Car, TransAm and ALMS and runs in the Grand Am TC championship together with John Schmitt, one of the other drivers. Hein and Green are SSR regulars in the Vision championship.

Previously the team has already competed in the 24 hours of Spa (in 2000) and finished 20th overall, while also winning the King’s Cup. This year their aim is no less than the overall podium. We will follow the drivers closely throughout the race, as they all promised to take a subscription for our beloved site…
Joost Custers


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