Team Vertu Racing won their first race of the season on Friday 27 July at the historic and evocative Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with Jamie Constable in Car 152 climbing from his 7th place starting position to take the top step of the podium. In an action-packed race with an incredible grid of 38 cars, Jamie managed to find his way through the slower traffic and to overtake several cars who couldn’t match his clearly superior pace and finished with a remarkable 10 second lead over his Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB team mate, Mike Cantillon.
Jamie managed to record the fastest lap, with an impressive lap time of 2:35.375, with an average speed of over 100mph around the very long 7km Belgian circuit. With the potential of very changeable weather conditions, and teams unsure about whether rain may fall on the more elevated sections of the circuit, the race was a tense and exciting affair.
Standing next to Jamie on the podium in second place was Mike Cantillon, also driving for the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB and only in his second race weekend with the team. Mike made an excellent start to the weekend by grabbing pole position for Friday’s race - his first pole of the season with an excellent time of 2:33.345, ahead of the more experienced Germans of Frank Gelf and Wido Roessler in 2nd and 3rd. Despite his impressive start, Mike couldn’t hold off Jamie Constable towards the end of the race as the Team Vertu Racing driver continued to push his car hard, determined to win his first race of the year.
Also starring for the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB was Peer Slipsager in his very first race in a Ferrari F430 Challenge at one of the fastest and longest circuits on the schedule. After a practice and qualifying session learning how the car handles around the long and undulating Spa circuit, Peer qualified in 33rd out of 38 cars and finished the 40 minute race in a very respectable and promising 27th.
For Race 2 on Saturday, Peer qualified 35th out of 38 cars and finished 29th. Now that he has had some time behind the wheel of the car and has a couple of races under his belt, Peer is hopeful of another good performance at the next round which is at Paul Ricard at the end of August.
Also driving for the Ferrari Challenge Dealer Team GB this weekend at Spa were Peter Bamford in Car 152, who was involved in an incident at La Source which meant he had to retire early from Friday’s race, and Yannick Mallegol and Jean-Marc Bachelier who struggled with the set-up of their car throughout the weekend and recorded a 21st place finish in race 1 and 25th in race 2, a few places down on their previous bests. Peter Bamford, however, managed to finish on the same lap as the leaders in race 2 on Saturday in 21st place, out of 30 finishers.
In the Trofeo Pirelli category, Nathan Kinch in the second Team Vertu Racing car started race 1 in 5th position, with a pace that was less than 1 sec off the pole position, finishing the race in 6th place after a hard fought battle with fellow Brit, Oliver Morley, who managed to overtake Nathan in the closing stages of the race.
In the second Trofeo Pirelli race on Saturday, Nathan started from 5th on the grid again, with a slightly improved time and managed to maintain his position to the end. Nathan now looks forward to the Paul Ricard circuit which the Ferrari Challenge visits at the end of August.