(settings) | Login Skip Navigation LinksRSC Home > Reports & News > FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013

3rd May 2013

Free practice and qualifying report

The 6 Hours of Spa 2013 is held as the second round of the newly created World Endurance Championship, which is now in its second season. After the first race which was held in Silverstone last month, it became apparent that Audi is now capable of running at the pace of Toyota, or even quicker - unlike the last season when Toyota more or less prevailed over Audis in all races after Le Mans, especially when the absolute race pace is considered. In Silverstone Toyotas were lapped by Audis during the race and despite starting from the first row, Toyotas did seem to lost their late 2012 season dominance.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 001FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 002

Now after the first day in Spa, it seems that Toyotas are really outpaced by Audis. Not only that Audis were top three in all of the three today's session but in the second long free practice session the best Toyota was only fifth. That one happy Toyota-beater in the session was faster of the Rebellion Lola car, which in hand of Nick Heidfeld was comparable to the pace of Toyotas and not lagging much behind Audis. Unfortunately other drivers did not seem to be able to run at this pace.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 003FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 004FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 005FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 006

Unfortunately, the new complicated qualifying system, often criticised in Silverstone, was not dropped for the Spa and other races of the season, so the Lola, similarly as in Silverstone could not keep its real qualifying position. In Silverstone we could have seen the Lola starting from the first row (!), and in Spa the quicker Lola could have split both Toyotas. But the new systems required two drivers of each team complete two laps at full speed and average of all four laps 'created' this way would count for the grid.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 007FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 008FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 009FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 010

The reason for this strange calculation and chaotic system is allegedly to entertain the spectators. The truth is that the cars are much more in the track during qualifying sessions than they used to be before. But it is the only positive. Otherwise it was a complete mess, it spoils some heroic achievements of smaller teams - as more times counted, more chance for established favourites keep their positions and it is always pretty bad for our statistics, where we want to keep a real fastest qualifying lap, not some strange average. For those that do not remember, similar system was used in Le Mans 1980. Back then average of all drivers' best times for each car for used and the reason was to discourage slow but well-paying drivers being hired by better team with an ambition of good grid positions. It created some fairly strange front rows and was correctly dropped for the next season.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 011FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 012FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 013FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 014

There are surely better ways how to keep more cars on the track during the qualifying session and it is pretty unfortunately WEC is taking route of Formula 1, where the system of artificial rules was started during the dominance of Michael Schumacher and continues until these days. We still prefer clean and fair traditional racing. Fortunately this classic style will be still used in Le Mans - which suggest what is still considered to be the best system. But why not apply a good experience from Le Mans also to other WEC races? We do not know. But long class mixed practices that serves also as qualifying was common during late 1960s and throughout 1970s and was much more enjoyable than modern attempts in F1, FIA GT, Super GT and many more, now with WEC joining the trend.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 015FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 016FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 017FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 018

Now back to the sessions. First of all, it is needed to be said that the Spa programme has almost no support race programme (but a local Porsche Cup), so a common three-day programme was shrunk to only two days. As a result of this all free practice and qualifying sessions had to be covered today. So the standard format of the free session (consisting of 3 parts of 90+90+60 minutes) was changed to just two 2-hour sections giving the teams same track time but we are less sure they were given the same opportunity for practice and setup as they would have been during three slightly shorter sessions split in two day used to give them. But generally, we appreciated this more condensed programme with no unnecessary delays. LMP1 results were already mentioned. Well but the mentioned quick Lola beaten the 2012 Toyota (no.8) already in the first morning session, which was started in wet but the track tried as the time passed by.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 019FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 020FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 021FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 022

Generally, the weather was expected to be a problem for the race weekend (in fact not weekend but Friday-Saturday programme) with very cold and a lot of rain. But the weather here is often very changeable, such as the weather forecast here and the latest news suggest we could have pretty sunny and even slightly warm race day. It is very likely that it will be dry during all six hours of the race. Even if it rained or there were some other complications in the race, we believe that Audi as more experienced team in endurance racing would take an advantage of such circumstances, so as there anything that can stop them from beating Toyotas almost easily? Hard to say, but considering today's programme, it is hard to imagine anything else but accident or mechanical woes stopping Audis dominate the race just as in Silverstone. But even though the one make dominance, it was a great race with a great battle for the win between the Audi drivers. Today we have one more Audi, a new long tail version for Le Mans, running as no.3. It appeared to be pretty quick especially in the second free session and also led the qualifying for some time and will start from the first row next to the Audi no.1. Third Audi no.2, the one that won at Silverstone, was the only Audi that did not break into the 1:59's.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 023FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 024FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 025FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 026

It is an interesting question how long can the Lola no.12 keep with the Toyotas in the race. Another question is how much is the team Rebellion motivated to fight with the Toyotas from the Championship point of view, because FIA decided to keep that strange rule that only factory teams can score points for the World Manufacturers Championship, so even if both Lolas finished ahead of Toyotas, it would not matter - except for drivers classification. Rebellion in fact scores points only against Strakka Racing, which was still a good effort today but really a bit outpaced. Audi scores point only against Toyota so in fact there is no difference if best Toyota finishes third or twenty sevenths, it would still get its 15 points against Audi 25. And of course vice versa, if the Toyota had won.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 027FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 028FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 029FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 030

The LMP2 class featured two nice Lotuses - possibly two best looking modern prototypes, slightly resembling original Gebhardts from the mid-1980s. While they, namely car no.31, often featured among the top 3 during the sessions, the final qualifying results put them only to two penultimate positions - if we do not consider two LMP2 cars that failed to qualify. The LMP2 pole went to Pecom |Racing Oreca 03 ahead of Zytek no.38 of team Jota, which was leading the session for a long time.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 031FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 032FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 033FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 034

The GTE Pro class was very, very close. All seven cars (one more than usually, a third Aston Martin added here) ran in a single second. It was Aston, Ferrari, Ferrari, Aston, Aston and... two new factory Porsches, which were the only ones not beating the 2:20 mark, though begin very close.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 035FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 036FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 037FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 038

The amateur portion of the GTE class was Aston, Ferrari, Aston and Corvette. Corvette boys from the Larbre team seemed stronger during the day, often provisionally first or second in the session, so we expected them to break into the top three. We wish them a good race as their lone Corvette really adds variety to the class.

FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 039FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 040FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 041FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 042FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 043FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa 2013 (free practice and qualifying report) - picture number 044
Random Photo
2 - Jaguar XK120 - Scuderia Striling Moss?
Donations
Recommended
News