Late Skirmish Not Enough to Deny Davies and Kazama Victory in Belgium

After losing their victory in Canada, Rhys Davies and Tomo Kazama returned to the top step of the podium with a victory at the GT Super Series Round of Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps.

The pair of former Open Wheel stars only lost the lead they maintained from the start three times during the two hour race, the first two coming when they were some of the earliest takers to pit in each window, and the third coming during a closing battle with Solvalou’s Morgan Le Fay, and Ravenwest’s Andrej Kremnicky. After the first round of pit stops, the lead between Kazama and Nathan McKane was as large as twenty seconds, and was stable at eight before Kazama started to struggle on worn tires. This allowed the Scot to close down the gap but the owner of Ravnewest Motorsports owner was never able to launch an attack during the middle stint of the race. Their battle allowed Morgan Le Fay to close in the top two after struggling in the opening part of the middle stint on her fresh set of tires, setting the stage for the final run to the finish.

Kazama would pit for the final time at the end of lap 37 for a full service and to switch over driving duties back to race starter Rhys Davies. Upon exiting, Davies would find himself stuck behind the Czechmate Ferrari being driven by Jiri Komarek and Shane Sparks in the GP Racing Lister. While it only took Davies one lap to pass Sparks around the outside at the exit of Les Combes, he would lose some time running wide on exit of Campus pushing hard to try and build a gap after McKane and Le Fay had their pit stops. Davies had done enough to build a gap of six seconds between him, Le Fay and Kremnicky but still with Komarek to deal with and multiple cars to be lapped ahead. Davies would pass the Czechmate Ferrari on the same lap that Komarek was set to pit which gave Le Fay one less car to deal with, even though more lapped cars remained for the perspective podium finishers to deal with.

Le Fay had passed McKane after Kazama gave up the lead to pit, and would have a small buffer to Kremnicky after the Solvalou pit crew had a great pit stop. She would struggle on the fresh tires again after struggling to lap the Euromotor Lister being driven by Quentin Bisping, which opened the door for the Slovakian to take second even though they were still both stuck behind the Canadian. The pair would go three wide under braking for Les Combes to lap the Canadian, with Le Fay taking both by being on the inside on corner entry. Bisping moved over too late and got spun by Kremnicky for his troubles. This would be the last of the breathing room that Rhys Davies would have, as now there was clean running for Kremnicky and Le Fay to catch the MacMillan Ford.

Ahead of Davies was the pair of lapped cars in battle for nineteenth place: the Minarae Ferrari of Andrea Massini and the Antegra Ayari Saleen of Mattias Gafner; and with ten minutes remaining, Davies got caught by Le Fay with Kremnicky not far behind them. Davies caught Massini to put him one lap down at Bruxelles but with Massini not playing nice, forced Davies to try and shove Massini out of the way. Davies would have a massive sideways moment on the crossover to turn 11 after making contact Massini, which opened the door for Le Fay to take the lead on the at turn 11 on the run to Pouhon and Massini to briefly escape being lapped. Le Fay was then too far back to lap Massini at Pouhon which opened the door back in Davies favor. The pair would go side by side into turn 13 with Le Fay being forced to yield the position back to the Factory Ford driver. With Le Fay’s run through Campus comprimised, she and Kremnicky went side by side through Stavelot with the Slovakian taking second place. Davies would then lap Massini under braking for the bus-stop chicane, while Le Fay took back second at the same place. Rhys Davies would then lap Gafner at La Source with Le Fay doing the same with a bold move up Eau Rouge, but there was simply no time left for the current Points Leader in the World Driver’s Championship to make a real charge at the win.

Rhys Davies and Tomo Kazama take their first win in the GT Super Series after CWG Team MacMillan’s appeal to reinstate the duo’s victory in Road Gatineau was rejected. Chris Winter and Morgan Le Fay’s second place result extends their lead in the championship over McKane and Kremnicky by another two points, with the gap now up to twelve with the three Asian fly-away races being all that is left. Another two points behind is the Gulf Racing pair of Matteo Rossi and Roland Davidson, who finished sixth overall after starting eleventh. It was a good day in general for both CWG Team MacMillan and for Pagani, which saw both teams getting double top ten results, the first for Pagani since the RAC Tourist Trophy earlier in the year and was highlighted by a strong fourth place result for Anton Robishaud and Giulio Mari.

All finishers in the top ten were Manufacture’s Trophy entries,with the first Indepdent’s Trophy car, winning in class, was the Tom Douglas Racing pair of James Douglas and Joel Melrose. This is TDR’s third victory of the season and the first for this pairing after the Reyna-Sanchez siblings took victories in Brazil and in Italy. While the Douglas/Melrose car has usually struggled for race pace after qualifying near the front of the class, today would see a turn of fourtune after one of their main rivals in the Czechmate Ferrari of Phil McCracken and Jiri Komarek struggled with race pace after Jiri Komark took over driving duties. This allowed the Euromotor pairing of Feldhoffer and Bertinelli to rally through the first to get their second straight podium result in class, and for Independent’s Trophy leaders Melanie Bourne and Marie Alberta Luisa a third place result in class, and fifteenth overall. The pairing of Bourne and Luisa now have a eight point advantage, with thirty plus fifteen potential bonus points left to play for.

The opening stint of the race was highlighted by a trio of accidents, all caused by oil on track leaking from the BMS Scuderia Italia of James James Davies. The first of which was a major crash for Emma Pescatore into the outside barrier at Radillon, followed by a three car accident at Les Combes for Eliana Diaz, Koyomi Setou, and Paul Jekins and then Antonio Reyna-Sanchez spinning into the sand at Campus one lap later. Joey Alliot in the Carson Speedworks Corvette, after a lowly starting position, was trapped at the accident at Les Combes after trying to take avoiding action at the run-off area, and was forced to reverse back on track in order to resume racing. As a result, he and Jacques Malenfant’s attempt to rise through the field was hindered, the pair only managing a fifteenth place finish overall.

Race Results – After 53 Laps

201MWinter/Le FaySolvalou+7.007
543MOlder Jr./JacobsonMacMillan+21.606
714MRei/WongGerald Pereria+30.726
927MRestov/Van WalwijkScuderia Italia+45.994
1155IDouglas/MelroseTom Douglas+48.720
1215MTravesen/SparksGerald Pereria+1.21.830
153IBourne/LuisaBoutsen Ginion+1:28.094
1977IMassini/CavalcantiMinarae+1 Lap
2045ICharpantier/BispingEuromotor+1 Lap
2150IDupuis/GafnerAntegra Ayari+1 Lap
2232IAxelsen/PedersenRMR+1 Lap
2313IYaname/KozarWinton+2 Laps
2528MJJ.Davies/ConstantiniScuderia ItaliaEngine
26555IA+V Reyna-SanchezTom DouglasSpun Off
2730IJenkins/BrunoGlobex ScorpioAccident Damage
2841ISetou/HortinBest In The WorldAccident Damage
294IDiaz/ShideharaBoutsen GinionAccident

Fastest Lap – Car 40 (MacMillan Ford – Davies/Kazama) – 2:12.317

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race – James Douglas and Joel Melrose: The pair finally did the thing, were ok come race day.

Reject of The Race – Jiri Komarek: A big blow to McCracken’s title push with the Czech national having no pace come race day.