MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: BMW GroupSpa-Francorchamps. The successful streak of the BMW M6 GT3 broke at the 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). After its victories at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER), the Indianapolis 8 Hours (USA) and numerous GT races around the world, the endurance classic in the Ardennes ended prematurely for the two vehicles used by Walkenhorst Motorsport after accidents. In the Pro-Am category, the # 10 BMW M6 GT3 from Boutsen Ginion crossed the finish line in fifth place. The spa weekend had started promisingly for Walkenhorst Motorsport. After good times in practice, the # 34 BMW M6 GT3 with Nick Catsburg (NED), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Philipp Eng (AUT) at the wheel was in first place after the pre-qualifying on Thursday. In qualifying, however, the BMW M6 GT3 did not get along so well in difficult weather conditions, so that both Walkenhorst Motorsport crews missed the Super Pole.
In the early stages of the race, both cars worked their way forward continuously. After around three hours, however, Catsburg collided with another vehicle in the # 34 BMW M6 GT3, severely damaging the radiator and front section. After a long break for repairs, Catsburg took to the track again, but after 107 laps the race was finally over.
The # 35 BMW M6 GT3 – driven by David Pittard (GBR), Martin Tomczyk (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) – retired early in the morning as a result of a serious accident by Tomczyk in the fast Blanchimont corner. Fortunately, the BMW works driver was unharmed.
In the Pro-Am category, the # 10 BMW M6 GT3 from Boutsen Ginion showed a solid performance and finished fifth in its class. At the wheel of the vehicle designed by artist Peter Halley, BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (GER) took turns with Karim Ojjeh (KSA), Benjamin Lessennes (BEL) and Giles Vannelet (FRA).
Reactions to the 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps:
Niclas Königbauer (Team Manager Walkenhorst Motorsport): “There are racing weekends when everything runs smoothly, and then there are racing weekends when a lot of things come together that don’t work in your direction. We had such a weekend here in Spa. There were minor technical problems, bad luck and misunderstandings in the race, which then led to accidents. First and foremost, I am happy that the BMW M6 GT3 is such a safe vehicle, because Martin Tomczyk’s accident was severe. From a sporting point of view, we leave Spa very unhappy. We put a lot of work into the preparation and of course would have wished for a different result. Nonetheless, this event remains a highlight of our season and we are already looking forward to competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge with the BMW M6 GT3 in Kyalami in December. “
Nick Catsburg (# 34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, retired): “That was a very unfortunate situation that led to my accident. We were a group of cars and the vehicle in front of me suddenly suddenly became very slow for me. I then hit it hard and badly damaged the front of our BMW M6 GT3. I think I may have misjudged the situation at the moment. I’m very sorry for the whole team. For me personally, a series of very successful races is coming to an end, but I hope that we can attack again in Kyalami. “
Martin Tomczyk (# 35 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, retired): “The conditions were very tricky. After the safety car restart in the early morning it had started to rain again a little. There was only a halfway dry line, next to it it was very slippery. At the beginning of Blanchimont I lost the rear a bit, had to open the steering and got onto the wet part of the track. From then on I didn’t have a chance. Fortunately nothing happened to me, but unfortunately the car is badly damaged. It’s a shame for the entire Walkenhorst team. Especially after we lost our sister car early on. “
Jens Klingmann (# 10 BMW M6 GT3, Boutsen Ginion, 5th place in the Pro-Am class): “The 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps, together with the 24 hours at the Nürburgring, are both the toughest and the most beautiful race for a GT Driver. At my premiere in the Pro-Am category, I had a lot of fun in the cockpit in around ten hours. We had some puncture issues that set us back, but all in all the team and my fellow drivers did a great job. “
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.