As in the 6 Hours of the Castellet in April, an ORECA 03 will start from the top position in the 6 Hours of Spa in the LMP2 class. In the Belgian Ardennes mountains, ADR-Delta dominated a particularly competitve qualifying session with six cars within six-tenths of a second ! Pecom Racing will start form the sixth position followed by the other ORECA 03 entries of Boutsen Ginion Racing (9th), Murphy prototypes (11th), Signatech-Nissan (12th et 14th) and Race Performance (13th).
During the practice session, run in the dry despite a morning shower on Saturday, the ORECA 03 cars were regularly in the top positions, with Pecom Racing (2nd in session 1, 1st in session 3), Signatech-Nissan (3rd in session 2) and ADR- Delta (3rd in session 3).
For their second appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship, ADR-Delta confirmed the abilities of the prototype designed and built in the Signes workshop. Coming from single-seater ranks, John Martin took the pole position a few minutes after the halfway point in the qualifying session, never to let it go. « The tests went well and we were able to improve the car as the sessions continued » explains the Australian driver after taking pole by 41 thousandths. « We know the car better than we did at Sebring and we clearly wanted to get a good result. The team has done an incredible job since the start of the season. ADR-Delta is a little like my family : I’ve known the team for several years now and I’m very happy to take this pole. In the practice sessions, we concentrated on the handling of the car with a full fuel load and older tires : we’ll have a good car for the race. » John Martin will be joined by Robbie Kerr and Tor Graves.
Pecom Racing, 3rd at the 12 Hours of Sebring, also hoped to figure in the top. The Argentine team, with the trio of Ayari/Kaffer/Perez Companc, ended the session in 6th place. «I’m a little disappointed» admits Soheil Ayari. «The ORECA 03 is worth much more than this time. But the race will be long and the objective is clear : victory ! »
While Boutsen Ginion Racing will take the start from the ninth position with Clarke/Brière/Petersen, Murphy prototypes will start in 11th place with Firth/Hughes/Hartley. Warren Hughes is confident. « The result doesn’t reflect our performance level » explains the British driver. « We can still improve the settings, but globally we have a good car, consistent and that doesn’t use tires too much. For the race, these are important advantages. Drivers, team and car : we have a solid package to get a good result. We’ll have to have a race without issues.»
For the first time with two ORECA 03 at the same event, Signatech-Nissan bookends Race Performance, 13th with Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry. The trio Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov will take the start in 12th, while the Lombard/Mailleux/Tresson car had the 14th time.
«In a general way, even though the qualifying session looks otherwise, the event so far has been positive » said Philippe Sinault, team boss of Signatech-Nissan. « We’re following our rhythm. We wanted to have everyone drive, including during the qualifying. We saw yesterday that we were competitive. We have a package that will allow us to shine, whether it be the drivers, the car or the engine. We’re entering two cars for the first time and it’s a challenge. But I’m confident of the team’s preparations. Our second objective has not changed : go for the top places, and that with the two cars ! »
The start of the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be given Saturday at 2 :30pm. Seventeen LMP2 will be at the start, of which 7 are ORECA 03 chassis.
(Image: Gerlach Delissen)