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The Dutch double up
2022 Spa Six Hours report


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David Hart/Nicky Pastorelli/Olivier Hart


Ford GT40




2022 Spa Six Hours (October 1, 2022)

David Hart/Nicky Pastorelli/Olivier Hart, Ford GT40, 2022 Spa Six Hours

The Dutch came to the Spa Six Hours with just six cars, yet four of those took podium positions, one of which was the big one – first place in the 2022 Spa Six Hours, the biggest historic endurance race of the season that with an entry of 90 cars was almost back to its pre-multi-crisis form. The memory of David Hart taking the win in René Herzog's Shelby Mustang GT350 was almost gone when his son crossed the finish line in first, the GT40 shared with Dad and Nicky Pastorelli a full lap ahead of the competition.

The small GTP class was also won by a Dutch car, the Marcos 1800 GT of Mark Dols and his British teammate Adam Cunnington, as the pairing won by no less than six laps. The Dutch almost had a third victory to celebrate, but the MGB of Sjoerd Peereboom, Jasper Izaks and Tom Smith lost the lead five minutes before the end when they were caught by the Porsche 911 previously occupied by Steve Osborne and Rob Smith, with Chris Ward doing the final stint. Like Armand Adriaans, Sam Adriaans and Erwin van Lieshout, who finished second in the touring car class with their Mustang, the Peereboom/Izaks/Smith crew were nevertheless delighted with their podium.

Erwin van Lieshout/Sam Adriaans/Armand Adriaans, Ford Mustang, 2022 Spa Six Hours

On its way to second place among the touring cars: the Erwin van Lieshout/Sam Adriaans/Armand Adriaans Ford Mustang. (photo 8W)

The foundation of both Dutch wins was their indestructible reliability. DHG Racing's Ford GT40 was initially thrown outside the top-ten by a drivethrough penalty, but starting driver David Hart quickly made up for that. Then Nicky Pastorelli – who would set fastest lap of the race by a considerable margin and had also put the car on pole – joined the battle for the lead, which was initially with Gipimotor's GT40 shared by Christophe van Riet and Fred Bouvy, but later two other GT40s emerged as candidates for victory – that of last year's winners Olly Bryant and James Cottingham, and the French car of Olivier Galant and Nic Minassian. However, with Olivier Hart at the wheel for the final stint, DHG managed to grab a lap lead over the competition, so that a few minutes before the chequered flag their victory was effectively a foregone conclusion.

For Dols, this had already been the case for more than 15 minutes, as a faultless run by the Dutchman’s Marcos 1800 GT had built up a whopping six-lap lead over its closest rivals. This allowed Cunnington to leisurely come in at the end to have his fogged-up windscreen treated – the result of the heaviest downpour in a Six Hours that was otherwise much drier than forecast. For the Peereboom/Izaks/Smith crew, however, a final quick stop proved deadly. In the closing stages, Smith was hit on the side by a Mustang, after which he came in as agreed before the race – in case of damage, always come in to have it checked. Fears that the left rear wheel was unable to turn freely proved unjustified and Smith was quickly sent on his way again. That was just what Chris Ward needed as his the Porsche 911 caught and passed Smith on the penultimate lap to cross the finish line with four seconds in hand.

Mark Dols/Adam Cunnington, Marcos 1800 GT, 2022 Spa Six Hours

Mark Dols and Adam Cunnington cornered the small GTP class win in their Marcos 1800 GT. (photo 8W)

Meanwhile, the Lotus Elan piloted by John Tordoff, Sam Tordoff and Andrew Jordan performed miracles to not just win the small GTS class hands down but also by finishing sixth overall ahead of two more GT40s. The Simon Evans/James Littlejohn Elan 26R took ninth overall, while the big GTS class win went to the tenth-placed John Clark-owned Jaguar E-type of former overall winner Andrew Smith and his teammates Gordie Mutch and Alisdair McCaig.

Several GT40s failed to make it to the end, the most notable victim being the example shared by Gary Pearson, Alex Brundle and Harrison Newey, while the most battered car in the field was the Aston Martin DP214 of Wolfgang Friedrichs, Simon Hadfield and Les Goble, which suffered heavy damage on all sides – and this that after the team had already worked hard to make the start at all, including a hurried parts run up and down to Germany.

Steve Tandy/Steve Brooks, Peugeot 90X, 2022 Spa Six Hours

Steves Tandy and Brooks each bagged a Masters Endurance Legends victory in the Peugeot 90X that they shared. (photo 8W)

In the supporting races, Christophe d'Ansembourg was the big hero on Saturday. In the first Masters Endurance Legends race – although the Walloon's Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 had to give way to Steve Tandy's Peugeot 90X on the very last lap – d'Ansembourg was still able to smile as his son Antoine took his first podium in the Dallara SP1 that once belonged to Didier Theys. Then the home hero held on for 25 minutes in a first F1 race that saw his Williams FW07C chased every lap by Steve Hartley's McLaren MP4/1, and yet d'Ansembourg failed to succumb to pressure.

On Sunday, the d'Ansembourgs decided not to take part, leaving the Peugeots in charge in Masters Endurance Legends. This time Steve Brooks took over one of the Peugeots from Steve Tandy, and Brooks seemed to be on course for victory until he stalled his engine during the mandatory pit stop – forgivable as it was his first time in the car. Kriton Lendoudis took over and held a 15-second lead until he spun when his attention was distracted by a burning car at Les Combes. Brooks slipped past, after which the safety car immediately came out for the burning Evora GTE. Thus Brooks' debut victory was a fact.

Marco Werner, Lotus 87B, 2022 Spa Six Hours

Driving his Lotus 87B, Marco Werner clinched the win in Sunday's second Masters Racing Legends race of the weekend. (photo 8W)

Marco Werner still came into his own in the rain by winning the second F1 race. His Lotus 87B had suffered from an accumulation of small problems on the previous day, but in the rain these figured a lot less. The German chased past teammate Michael Lyons in the Lotus 92 and duly took victory.

Olivier Hart picked up a bonus on Sunday morning in the form of victory in the soaking wet Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race. While the weather on Saturday ended up being not too bad, on Sunday it turned out to be worse than predicted. Hart’s Alfa GTA took the lead after the pit stops to beat Sam Tordoff's Ford Falcon. In the simultaneous Masters Gentlemen Drivers race, which ran half an hour longer, Andy Newall pulled through in his Jaguar E-type to stay ahead of teammate Marcus von Oeynhausen. Niko Ditting and Sam Hancock in their Cobra would have liked the race not to have been aborted with eight minutes to go, after another incident, as it left the resurgent Hancock stuck in third place.

Graham Adelman/Andy Willis, Lola T210, 2022 Spa Six Hours

Hall & Hall mechanics Andy Willis, George McDonald and Jake Shortland pushed back the Graham Adelman/Andy Willis Lola T210 after Thursday scrutineering. (photo 8W)

In the Masters Sports Car Legends, it took almost half the race before the field was finally let loose – such were the appalling conditions towards the end of Sunday morning. Tom Bradshaw proved unstoppable after that, guiding his Chevron B19 to a dominant victory, his closest rivals Manfredo Rossi (Osella Abarth PA1) and Michael Gans (Lola T290) outrun by the fast young Briton from Bolton.

In the Historic Grand Prix Car Association's pre-1966 F1 races, Michael Gans looked set for victory on Saturday, but his Cooper T79 was trounced at the last minute by Charlie Martin's T53. A day later, Martin repeated his trick, but this time leading from the start. In Formula Juniors, Manfredo Rossi fought a close battle with Stuart Roach on Saturday, the Italian deciding it in his favour, his Lotus 22 finishing 1.2 seconds ahead of Roach’s Alexis Mk4. The next day, Rossi repeated the trick, and this time his lead over Roach was some 11 seconds, helped by the fact that he was the only one capable of following the safety car!

Ben and Justin Maeers, GN Parker, 2022 Spa Six Hours

Filling up the Ben & Justin Maeers GN Parker for Motor Racing Legends' Pre-War Sportscars. (photo 8W)

Motor Racing Legends, meanwhile, had taken two grids to Spa. In the Pre-War Sportscars, Gareth Burnett's Alta Sports took a clear win ahead of Michael Birch's Talbot AV105 and the Morleys' leading Bentley. In the combined Stirling Moss Trophy and Woodcote Trophy, John Spiers and Nigel Greensall held the upper hand in their Lister Knobbly, but in the end the Knobbly of Tony Wood and Will Nuthall came through for the win. Rüdi Friedrichs took fourth place overall with his Jaguar C-type, taking the win in the Woodcote Trophy.

The win in the Belcar Historic Cup, which also featured STCC and U2TC, went to Flemish duo Eric Nulens and Erik Bruynoghe in their Porsche 964, Luc Moortgat's 964 claimed victory in the final race of the weekend.

More pictures of the Spa Six Hours weekend