dsc Polo Wins Round 7 of BTCS
Last weekend (July 10-11) saw rounds six and seven of the Belgian
Touring Car Series take place, at a very wet Spa. Weather conditions
were similar to the Nürburgring one week earlier, which of
course shouldn't come as a surprise since both tracks are located
in the same region and are equally infamous for "their"
taken in drier conditions)
BTCS races ran as support races to the Fun Cup 25 Hours on Saturday
morning, both rounds were shortened to one hour each (instead of
the usual 90 minutes) - which basically meant a sprint race with
a pit stop only to change drivers. Funnily enough there were more
cars entered for these short races (52 starters in total) than there
have been before for the longer events. A few more Porsches were
added in the big classes, but the focus of the battle would be on
both tube-frame BMW M3s, the two GPR Porsches of Nef / Lemeret and
Mathieu / Voets, the tube-frame Jaguar and of course the official
Audi A4 Quattro.
was a lottery," said Bob Winter (in thoughtful pose, right).
"Would it rain, would it not? We opted for slicks in the first
session, despite a damp track and despite the fact that half the
track had recently been resurfaced, which meant it was as slippery
as could be."
is undergoing some changes, the most noticeable being the altered
Bus Stop chicane. "Before, when you came out of the Blanchimont
double lefthander - which you take flat - you had a slight kink
to the right before going straight on to the Bus Stop," Winter
explains. "Now, where that little kink used to be, you have
to turn sharp right, before turning sharp left into the Bus Stop.
What it does is that you now have to start braking when turning
right. Remember, you're flat in fifth or sixth gear at that point,
so it can sometimes get a bit hairy when you have to brake, downshift
and turn sharp right at the same time, especially when it's raining
cats and dogs like it did. But it adds to the fun and I think it
will be interesting to see the McNishes and Herberts of this world
tackle that corner in September. That said, by turning sharp right
before the Bus Stop and thus losing your speed, the Bus Stop itself
loses it "raison d'être". I hope they'll get rid
off it and use the new section as a regular chicane, after which
you can rejoin the old, pre-Bus Stop, track."
weather of first practice was as good as it would get at Spa that
weekend. "For the second session, Spa again became what it
so often is: the sink of Belgium. We had some serious problems demisting
the windscreen of our car, so we barely did any running in the rain."
Nevertheless, the dsc Lehmann VW Polo would start from second in
class, and well up on the grid overall.
raceday however the weather was dry for the first race, but the
track was still wet. "I had hoped the Fun Cup warm-up, just
before our first race, would have dried the track a bit. You'd think
that some 130 cars running around for half an hour would at least
clean up the line a bit, but it was still slippery as hell at the
start. Or in other words: being on slicks on a greasy track I completely
screwed up the start," Winter says.
At the front
the battle for the lead was a fierce one, but soon the first victims
would fall. The Porsche of championship leaders Nef and Lemeret
had to call it quits with clutch problems, while the sister car
of Voets and Mathieu ended its race in the gravel trap when the
latter was chasing the Audi for second place. Victory in race one
went to Miss Sylvie Delcour and David Loix in their Oreca-built
tube-frame BMW M3. In Class B, Bob Winter and Marc Van Hoof finished
the second race that afternoon it was business as usual, weather-wise
at least: heavy rain and zero visibility. "Just before the
pitlane closed it started raining, so we had to put on rain tyres,
which meant risking having to start from the pitlane exit. The guys
had just finished doing that, when the pitlane exit light turned
red, so we had start dead last, without knowing what the track was
like," Winter said. The weather certainly didn't seem to bother
the cars at the front, with the battle not only going for first
place in the race, but also for the lead in the championship. First
victim would be the Audi of Verbergt and Hemroulle, losing five
laps after an off early on. Nef and Lemeret would go on to win the
second race of the day, with the Jaguar close behind and the Delcour
/ Loix BMW in third.
And the dsc
VW Polo? "The car cut like a hot knife through butter,"
Winter said. "Marc was especially keen on proving that at age
50-something he can still teach a thing or two to the others. Remember
that we had to start from the pitlane, so finishing first a lap
clear on everybody else after just an hour is a rather jolly good
result, me thinks."
Jolly good show,
Bob and Marc!
team's first win of the year, combined with the DNF of their closest
rival, means that Winter and Van Hoof are now second in the championship,
with still a good chance of clinching the title. "There are
still four races to go, and at the end of the year you have to drop
two scores which in our case is the two DNSs from the first weekend.
Our competitors however will have to lose a lot of points, so the
double zero which upset us quite a bit at the beginning of the season
could turn out to be a blessing after all," Winter concluded.
Rounds 8 and
9 of the BTCS will be run in Zolder on September 18/19.
BTCS Round 6
1. Delcour/Loix BMW M3 23 laps in 1h01m17s771 (average: 156.402kph)
2. Hemroulle/Verbergt Audi A4 + 0m31s258
3. Thiry/Dermont Jaguar X-Type + 0m40s785
1. Norris (GB)/Thiebault Peugeot 106 19 laps in 1h02m03s906 (average:
2. Collin/Dronveaux Peugeot 106 + 0m00s984
3. Winter/Van Hoof VW Polo + 1 lap
BTCS Round 7
1. Nef/Lemeret Porsche 911 GT3 21 laps in 1h02m04s762 (average:
2. Thiry/Dermont Jaguar X-Type + 0m12s166
3. Delcour/Loix BMW M3 + 0m29s060
1. Winter/Van Hoof VW Polo 18 laps in 1h03m34s765 (average: 118.006
2. Mottart/Laloux Honda Civic + 1 lap
3. Collion/Dronveaux Peugeot 106 + 2 laps.