Ford GT40s battle for honours in Spa Six Hours

| 26 Sep 2011

A dramatic Ford GT40 battle was the highlight of an epic Spa Six Hours on 24 September.

After 110 laps, the German team of Christian Glasel and Ralf Kelleners pipped the British-based equipe of Leo Voyazides and historic race specialist Simon Hadfield by just two minutes. The lead swapped between the front-runners as they lapped the huge field throughout the race. Unusually for Spa, the event was run in perfect dry conditions with the GT40s setting a race average of 131kph and Glasel clocking the fastest lap of 2 mins 47.2 secs.

Such was the heated pace of the Ford prototypes that they finished three laps clear of the third-place Jaguar E-type of Chris Scragg, Dave Coyne and Mark Wright.Beating the Cobra army was the mighty pea-green TVR Griffith 400 driven by Jon Shipman, Mark Hales and Nigel Reuben, but, even more impressive was the giant-trouncing performance of the DK Engineering team’s MGB, which brothers James and Jeremy Cottingham gunned to an impressive twelfth.A record 107 cars started this popular event, but when an Alfa Giulia TI rolled at Eau Rouge on lap eight, the safety car was forced out. As the huge field slowed under yellow flags, last year’s winning E-type of Jon and Jason Minshaw - teamed with Martin Stretton was involved in an accident with a Cobra and was forced to retire, much to the frustration of the Cheshire team. The Six Hours always provides some heroic fight-back performances. When engine problems forced the Cobra team of Belgians Jean-Michel Martin and Marc Devis-teamed with Swiss enthusiast Christian Traber, to pit for repair, they stormed back to a top five place. But highlight for organiser Alan Defalle was the sight of Jackie Oliver, the 1971 Spa 1000km winner, back on the podium after taking second with Richard Shaw in the U2TC event, although their BMW 1800 TiSA no match for the Lotus-Cortina of Voyazides and Hadfield. Historic ace Willie Green was on fine form at Spa co-driving Swiss Carlo Vögele’s fabulous Ferrari 330GTO to win the Pre-’63 GT race.

The great weekend was capped with an E-type victory in Masters Gentleman Drivers with Marcus Graf von Qeynhausen and Frank Stippler (above) holding off all the Cobras to win the 2-hour race. Highlight for many was the chance to see a genuine Daytona Cobra back in action, with the Goodwood Tourist Trophy-winning GT of Christian Claesel and Olivier Ellerbrock roaring home to fourth. For a full list of results see Spa Six Hours.