So today appears to have been a very good day for the Porsche factory boys at Spa.
I have to say appears because the information I have to hand is put together from sketchy phone conversations with our man at the track, along with a handful of press releases and a few photos from the circuit.
As I type I’m drinking my tenth cup of coffee and waiting for the next high-speed train to Brussels. If the weather here at the moment is anything to go by, I should think the weekend is set for more than one or two downpours to liven up proceedings. Who doesn’t like watching those brave young (and not so young) men, driving million dollar racing cars in the pouring rain of northern Europe?
I’m told of an accident involving an Audi and a Toyota, the consequence of which is the retirement from the weekends proceedings by the mercurial Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima on medical grounds. The driver of the number 8 Audi, Oliver Jarvis, was uninjured in the crash, however both teams are now working to repair their cars, so enabling them to continue and race on Saturday.
Porsche young gun Earl Bamber posted the fastest lap of the day, putting the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the #17 Porsche of Webber, Bernhard and fellow Kiwi Brendon Hartley.
Bamber said “It was quite a difficult day, although the 919 hybrid is really good to drive in these conditions. I’m really enjoying myself here, learning a lot and I can’t wait for the race on Saturday”.
Andre Lotterer grabbed third for Audi in the #7 R18 e-tron quattro with a lap of a 2m26.183s, which put him over half a second ahead of the #18 Porsche of Neel Jani.
As the rain got heavier, fewer and fewer cars took to the track, opting instead to stay in the safety of their garages and so avoiding any undue risk to man or machine. I can only imagine how bad it must have been to keep these teams from taking part, usually the drivers will go out and put in several short wet stints to hone a race setting for these conditions.
The Strakka Racing team topped the LMP2 times, British driver Danny Watts posting a half second gap over the Kiwi Mitch Evans driving the #38 Jota Sport Gibson-Nissan 015S.
In the GTE Pro class Richard Lietz was quickest in #92 the Manthey Porsche 911 RSRs, ahead of the Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Richie Stanaway and the AF Corse Ferrari driven by Rui Aguas.
Everyone’s favourite Pro-Am driver Patrick Dempsey coped well in the very wet conditions and continues to tune himself into the famous circuit.
So there we have it, a quick catch up on today’s events at Spa. As I finish writing this post I’m entering Belgium, strapped to the front of a bullet train doing 200mph and with a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape swaying gently in front of me. The train is quiet and it’s been a long day. I should be in Spa within a couple of hours, food and bed await me there and the rain and wet cars can wait until tomorrow.