2003 Miles of Spa – Qualifying Report
dsc Team 86 Polo – Dream Over
“I'm afraid the dream is over: the engine called it quits
after this afternoon's final qualifying session. A broken valve
dropped into the engine and that was it,” says a very despondent
“All in all it
has been a weekend to forget, because, other than that we were part
of the very first edition of the Spa 2003 Miles, there was little
afternoon free practice session everything worked perfectly and
Marc Van Hoof set a 3minute-flat time which made us fastest in class
by some ten seconds.
When I started the first
qualifying session later that afternoon, and found it difficult
to get away from the pitlane. I thought the engine was cold, but
going up the pitlane (in Spa, the "old" endurance pitlane
exits on top of the Eau Rouge swoop, which means you have a 25%
hill climb to get up) the engine cut out completely. It's rather
silly when you're stopped halfway up a pitlane exit and other cars
are queuing behind you. I managed to let myself "slide"
back to the bottom (i.e. the end of the actual pitlane where the
garages end) where the mechanics looked at the engine, declared
it okay, and sent me back out again. This time I managed to get
up the hill but only just. Down the straight to Les Combes I noticed
what the problem was: I hadn't selected first gear as I thought,
but third because the gear selector had broken. As a matter of fact,
I was stuck with just third and fourth gear, so that put paid to
the first qualifying session.
“The second and
third qualifying sessions (both held at night) actually worked well.
We concentrated on setting up the car, adjusting the lights and
so on, and getting used to driving around Spa at night. Our times
(a 3m10s897 in the first night session and a 3m10s736 in the second)
were right up with the rest of our class, being second fastest both
“So that boded
well for the fourth and final qualifying session on Friday afternoon,
and indeed for the race. Unfortunately, the starting driver (i.e.
moi) seemed to be doomed, because on my second installation lap
I had massive spin where the "new" part joins the "old"
part of the track, doing a neat 360 twirly, sliding to the right
and just brushing the guard rails on the right hand side. So I came
back in, the team looked over the car and saw it was just cosmetic
damage and sent me out again. I then wanted to do two full laps
to get enough heat in the tyres and then go for a time, but on the
second on those laps a valve broke and dropped.
“We tried to buy
a new engine everywhere in Belgium, Holland and Germany, but since
it's so specific it was impossible to find a decent replacement.
We even contemplated buying an Italian VW Lupo Cup which was sitting
in the paddock, and convert it to endurance-spec overnight, but
that proved a near-impossible operation. So at 8pm the story of
the dsc VW Polo in the Spa 2003 Miles ended. Very frustrating, because
everybody worked hard to get there. The engine was fresh for this
race, so the valve broke when it had only done some 150 miles.
“I'll get my Ardennes
revenge next week, when we're driving the BMW M3 in the ZETC for
a 4 hour race at the same track, but we're nevertheless looking
into some endurance revenge for the Polo as well. Maybe at the Zolder
10 Hours in November.”
Very sad, Bob. Please
offer our commiserations to all involved – not that words
will do any good, of course. But as true racers, you’ll bounce
back. A shame that valve won’t though. Ed.
Below is the top 15 for
the 2003 Miles grid. 44 cars practised, but at least one won't make
Here are newsworthy bits
of information, provided by Bob himself.
1. Famous, legendary
and other well known sportscar drivers on the grid: Vincent Vosse,
Philip Peter (the third Audin R8 in Le Mans last year), Dieter Quester
(still going strong after all these years), David Sterckx (second
in Spa 24 last year driving the Lister), Pierre De Thoisy, Nigel
Greensall, Claude Bourgoignie (multiple class winner in LM in the
early eighties, Pete Halsmer (of BF Goodrich Porsche 962 fame)
2. Ladies at the start:
Fanny Duchateau, Sylvie Delcour, Francesca Akkermans.
3. From the US: one team made it all the way from the US entering
a Honda Civic-R: Mark Hein, John, Green, John Schmitt and Pete Halsmer.
4. The most impressive
team: the most impressive outfit is definitely the Duller Motorsport
team from Austria, entering two beautiful Red Bull BMW M3s for the
likes of Dieter Quester, Philip Peter and friends.
5. The most
impressive off: one of those Red Bull friends destroyed the number
1 Red Bull BMW at Blanchimont in the first night qualifying session.
The team duly got a spare car out of the truck, put the correct
decals on it and got going again on Friday!
6. Jaguar Mondeo
or Ford X-type? The tubeframe Jaguar X-type Silhouette is actually
the same car as the Ford Mondeo which runs in the Belcar series.
They just swapped bodywork, but the Jaguar looks definitely the
part in its racing green livery.
(BMW M3 Silhouette) 2'30''072
2. Vosse-Peter-Quester-Wolff (BMW M3) 2'31''521
3. Heydens-Dermont-Sterckx-Thiry (Jaguar Silhouette) 2'36''492
4. Corbisier-Nef-Delobbe-Lémeret (BMW M3 Silhouette) 2'36''560
5. Verbergt-Duchateau-Hemroulle-Dubois (Audi A4 Silhouette light)
6. Bruno-Beulen-Turco-Franchi (BMW M3 Silhouette) 2'38''125
7. Bouvy-Redhouse-Quester jr-Handkammer (BMW M3) 2'39''717
8. Deman-Geoffroy-Qvick-Colman (Mini S3) 2'40''184
9. Leyssens-Coenen-Vanbellinghen-Haugg (BMW 320i) 2'41''608
10. Mathieu-Verhoeven-Meynart-Voets (BMW M3) 2'42''022
11. Hazebrouck-De Thoisy-Depoix (BMW M3) 2'45''767
12. De Wilde-Horion-Chouvel-Corthals-Sterckx (Renault Clio) 2'46''918
13. Demuth-Demuth-Dumont-Schmit-Kreak (BMW M3) 2'47''094
14. Kenis-Smets-Lumbeeck-Dekeersmaeker (BMW M3) 2'48''098
15. Delcour-Baugnée-Blaise (BMW 328i) 2'48''249
16. Brouwers-Dubois-Mosselmans-Dunesme (Peugeot 306) 2'49''203
17. Van Rompuy-Buytaert-Dehaye (VW Golf) 2'49''493
18. Houbben-De Hoen-Servais-Matot (BMW Compact) 2'49''894
19. André-Thelen-Heck-Haddouche-Vannerum (BMW M3) 2'50''579
20. Greensall-Pashley-Tomlinson (BMW M3) 2'51''306
21. Hein-Green-Schmitt-Halsmer (Honda Civic R) 2'53''387
22. Godefroid-Counet-Boulanger-Corrales (VW Corrado) 2'53''453
23. Delannoy-Adriaenssens-De Groote (VW Golf) 2'54''705
24. Verhofstadt-Norris-Constant-Grandmont-Bourgoignie (BMW M5) 2'54''827
25. Boonen-Franck-Van der Straten-Boulik (BMW M3) 2'54''875
26. Naveaux-Menage-Raxhon-Galand-Wilders (Honda Integra) 2'55''271
27. Doms-Verbanck-Bonduel-Prignon (Honda Prélude) 2'56''877
28. Stéveny-Henry de Frahan-Morlet-Dehaspe (Peugeot 205 Gti)
29. D'Ansembourg-De Paux-Van den Hove (Renault Clio) 2'58''187
30. Lempereur-De Coninck-Bernardus-De Smet-De Coninck (VW Vento)
31. Latour-Janssens-Van den Berk-Akkermans-Scholten (Toyota Yaris)
32. Delodder-Sevrin-Spinnael (Saab 9.3) 3'04''675
33. Flohimont-Marin-Patureau-Bultuis-Gilles (Renault Clio) 3'05''080
34. Van de Plas-Liard-Meert (Toyota Yaris) 3'05''466
35. Van Billoen-Van Damme-Bousson-Doolaege-Clermont (Honda Civic)
36. Grifnée-Collin-Ronveaux-Papeians-Jorquera (Peugeot 106
37. Dubois-De Keijser-De Keijser (VW Lupo) 3'08''757
38. Wilmus-Petit-Dunand-Mahaut-Berger (Honda Civic) 3'09''422
39. Cohignac-Reicher-Cotteret-Delvaux (Renault Clio) 3'10''227
40. Van Hoof-Nelissen Grade-Winter (VW Polo) 3'10''736
41. Fischer-Cornet-Rousseau-Hopchet (VW Polo) 3'13''233