Brooks nicks win from Lendoudis in second Masters Endurance Legends race
Steve Brooks and Kriton Lendoudis produced a Peugeot 1-2 in a very wet second Masters Endurance Legends race at Spa. Brooks led away from pole in the Peugeot 90X that Steve Tandy had taken to a win the previous day and led towards the stops, but a stall during his mandatory pitstop helped Lendoudis’ Peugeot 908 into a lead that he would steadily increase to 15 seconds. The sting was in the tail, though, as Lendoudis spun just as a late safety-car call would ensure the final result – Brooks slipped through only moments before the safety-car procedure was set in motion.
“There was a car on fire at the end of the Kemmel Straight”, said a rueful Lendoudis, “and I just spun…”
“I wouldn’t say that I got it handed on a plate, I worked hard for it!” said a smiling Brooks. “The race was mine but I stalled the car at the stops. It was my first time in the car ever – at Spa, in the wet. It’s just lovely, very French, very smooth in its power delivery, very different to the Lola-Mazda I was used to.”
In third, Stuart Wiltshire drove a lonely race to corner the P2 class win in his Ligier JSP2, while in fourth and fifth overall Andy Feigenwinter and Marcus Graf von Oeynhausen contested the GT class win all race, the Swiss Porsche 997 GT3 driver leading the German count’s Audi R8 LMS Ultra in the first part of the race but Von Oeynhausen turned the tables on his rival during the second half.
“Yes, I’m really happy!” said Von Oeynhausen. “I love this weather, and this time the car worked well – I had a fuel-injection issue yesterday.”
“Sadly no second win”, said Feigenwinter. “The safety-car situation really worked against me, I got held up and that lost me so much time…”
In sixth overall, Craig Davies and Ron Maydon doubled up on P3 class wins, their Ligier JSP3 leading home the similar car of Andy Willis and Stephan Joebstl, while Olivier Galant was next up in his Ferrari 458 GTE, snatching third place in the GT class.
As the atrocious conditions continued to play their part on a very wet Spa Six Hours Sunday, the Masters Endurance Legends field started its second race of the weekend with two laps behind the safety car. The d’Ansembourgs had elected against running after their Saturday success, so this left Steve Brooks in charge as the Peugeot 90X raced to the win by Steve Tandy the day before was chased by teammate Kriton Lendoudis in the Peugeot 908. Stuart Wiltshire in the leading C2 car was third, his Ligier JSP2 in turn chased by the top two GT contenders, Andy Feigenwinter’s Porsche 997 GT3 ahead of Marcus Graf von Oeynhausen’s Audi R8 LMS Ultra. However, their rival from the previous day decided against continuing, Jason Wright returning his Ferrari 458 GT3 to the pits.
In sixth overall, Craig Davies led the P3 class in his Ligier JSP3, ahead of class rivals James Davison and Andy Willis in similar Ligiers, but the three were soon passed by Marcello Marateotto’s Lola B06/10, the Italian recovering from his mishap in race one. Behind the P3 battle, Daniel Palma (Lotus Evora GTE) and Xavier Galant (Ferrari 458 GTE) contested third place in the GT class.
At the front, Brooks and Lendoudis were separated by 1.5 seconds, as the Peugeots stretched out their lead over Wiltshire’s P2 Ligier to 17 ticks. In fourth and fifth, now 30 seconds down, Feigenwinter and Von Oeynhausen continued their fight for the GT class lead, while James Davison had made his way to the front in the four-way P3-class fight.
15 minutes into the race, the pit window opened for Feigenwinter and Marateotto to be the first to blink, while the two Peugeots now ran effectively nose-to-tail, Lendoudis having closed to half a second from Tandy. Next time around, Von Oeynhausen was in, followed by Davison and Palma. Lendoudis and Wiltshire came in on lap 7, with Brooks following them in one lap later, along with Davies and Willis, who handed over to Ron Maydon and Stephan Joebstl respectively.
After all the stops had panned out, Lendoudis was the new leader, with Brooks now trailing the Greek by five seconds – since Brooks had stalled the car. Wiltshire’s distant third had become even more distant, with a gap of 53 seconds to the leader, but he was holding his own in the P2 class lead. Meanwhile, in the GTs, Von Oeynhausen had jumped Feigenwinter at the stops. A long stop for James Davison and Brad Hoyt had pushed Hoyt down to 11th place, leaving Maydon and Joebstl to fight for the P3 class lead. Palma still held off Galant for third place in GTs but the Chris Ward/Steve Osborne Porsche 996 GT3 RSR had moved into the top ten at the expense of Brad Hoyt’s Ligier JSP3. Further back, Marateotto was in for a second time to retire in a weekend to forget for the Italian.
With ten minutes remaining, Lendoudis held an even firmer grip on the lead, now ten seconds ahead of Brooks, and the Greek steadily stretched this safe distance for the next few laps, while in their fight for fourth overall and the GT class lead, Von Oeynhausen had managed to put ten seconds between himself and his rival Feigenwinter.
As the finish approached, Lendoudis was 15 seconds ahead when the safety car was called for Daniel Palma’s Lotus Evora catching fire at the back of the circuit. For the briefest of moments, it looked that this set the Peugeot 1-2 in stone, Lendoudis leading home Brooks, but it wasn’t to be. Distracted by the rescue car coming to Palma’s aid, Lendoudis spun into Les Combes just before the safety-car procedure was set in motion. Brooks said thank you and grabbed the lead which under safety-car conditions he naturally held until the finish.
Behind the Peugeots, Wiltshire took in third in the Ligier JSP2 while Von Oeynhausen and Feigenwinter switched order from the previous day, with Davies/Maydon in sixth overall taking more P3 glory, as they doubled up over the weekend. The Willis/Joebstl pairing took another second place in P3, while Galant snatched third in GTs ahead of the Ward/Osborne Porsche.
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