Spa Six Hours – Second Podium in a week…..

22nd September 2012

The MRM prepared Jaguar E Type Low Drag Coupe driven by owner Martin Melling, Rob Hall and Peter Snowdon scored a great result of 7th overall and 2nd in GTP12 Class at the classic Spa Francorchamps circuit in this evenings 15th annual running of the Six Hours of Spa race.

Martin was in the car for the opening sting starting from a strong 20th position on the grid. Despite a “cautious” opening lap that saw him drop to 33rd Martin got his head down and started working the blue E Type back through the order.

Such was his rate of progress that he spun the fuel laden car a few laps in. Not content with a simple, low speed spin Martin did it properly completing not one, but two full 360 degree spins at the Radillon, at the top of Eau Rouge! Managing to keep both his composure and the car on track he calmly resumed his progress back through the field.

By the end of his stint Martin had not only recovered from the spin(s), regained his starting position and improved on it handing the car to Rob Hall in a fine 19th place overall. It was as Martin said, “the best I’ve driven all year”.

After refueling, the ability that had earned him the overall win at the previous weekend’s Goodwood Revival Cobra 50 Years Celebration race showed once again he worked his way up the order. The E Type was this year running faultlessly and showing incredible pace with it.

By the end of his stint Rob was able to hand the car over in 8th place overall.

Peter took over for the final, into darkness stint and after the all the final pit stops settled into a comfortable rhythm running in 11th overall. The strategy for the last two hour stint was to take have a conservative first hour, burning off the capacity fuel load whilst conserving the tyres that had already run for four, straight hours.

Once the five hour mark was reached a decision as to how much we could ‘push’ to the end could be better made. Nevertheless, running in 11th for lap after lap seemed both interminable and equally agonisingly just outside of the top ten.

This being endurance racing though, patience is name of the game. Once the five hours mark came up though, the tyres and brakes were still in good shape so with a lighter fuel load the final run to the finish was on.

Easing into the top ten, then P9 the E continued it’s relentless charge into the night. With half an hour to go the P8 that Rob had earned earlier was regained. Into the last few laps Peter was catching the seventh placed Mustang. Carefully thorough the back markers in the dark the pair ran ever closer until on the last lap Peter nipped past the Mustang with two corners to go.

“Maybe he relaxed knowing it was the last lap” Snowdon noted afterwards.

The result was a fine 7th overall and a 2nd in class (GTP12) in the toughest historic endurance race in the world.

A huge thank you must go to owner Martin Melling for inviting Peter to drive, to Rob Hall and of course to the boys at MRM for providing such a fantastic car.

Here’s to 2013.

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