It was a begrudged fifth place for Christopher Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III at the end of Race -1 at the International GT Open held today on the Spa-Francorchamps track. Once again the Belgian weather proved a decisive factor in the final race outcome with the car of Tempesta Racing missing out on a deserved second place.
Thunderous start. A few moments before the start the main straight experienced such an intense downpour that the race director declared the wet race. After a fine qualifying session, Eddie Cheever III, at the wheel of the Tempesta Racing 488 GT3, headed out from sixth position. The cars filed out behind the Safety Car and, in such a seemingly innocuous moment, contact between Schandorff’s Lamborghini and Rueda’s McLaren, immediately behind Cheever, forced the winners of the Hockenheim race into an early retirement. Once the Safety Car came back in and the race officially got underway, Cheever came under attack and was overtaken by Schandorff, to whom the Italian driver offered little resistance given that a penalty for the Danish driver looked fairly likely. Cheever’s pace in the race was solid, allowing him to lose little ground to the leading drivers and, taking advantage of the mandatory pit stops, was able to seal third outright position.
Fading podium. The Tempesta Racing pit sprang into action with just seconds to go until the closing window of the mandatory pit stops. Christopher Froggatt got back on track in sixth overall position, second in the Pro-Am class. The Englishman was keeping his pursuers firmly in check and looked to be heading towards a surprise-free final stretch when, as so often happens at Spa-Francorchamps, the weather again proved unpredictable with a violent downpour three minutes before the chequered flag. This shook up Swiss driver Adrian Amstutz, leader of the Pro-Am class, who went off track at Stavelot but able to continue without damage to the car. The race director quickly called out the Safety Car. Meanwhile Froggatt had lost control of his 488 GT3 at turn nine and crashed into the barriers. The Englishman, likewise, managed to get back into the race and, although his podium place had faded from sight, the Tempesta Racing car nevertheless crossed the finish line in tenth outright position, fifth in the Pro-Am class.
Schedule. Tomorrow the starting grid for Race-2 will be decided at 10.35 hrs, with the start of the sixty-minute race scheduled for 15.05 hrs.