Unlucky return to competition for Bhai Tech Racing. The Italian team, who contested the International GT Open’s sixth round on the track of Spa-Francorchamps, experienced the season’s most difficult race week end, which ended with zero points scored after four consecutive good results and three successful races at Nurburgring, Jerez and Silverstone.
The Italian team’s race week end at the Ardennes-based legendary circuit began in a good way, with the team’s four drivers Gorgio Pantano, Rafael Suzuki, Chris Van Der Drift and Luiz Razia able to lead the two McLaren MP4 – 12C to the standing’s top positions. The two qualifying turns proved the team, directed by Mr. Roberto Costa the engineer, was in a very good shape and gave evidence of its technical skills. In fact the team scored the second and third place in the GTS class (fifth and seventh in the overall standing) in qualifying – 1 with Pantano and Razia and the pole (third place in the overall standing) with Van Der Drift in qualifying – 2. “We were so fast since free practice, which is a clear proof we did a great job over the past few months. Our potential was demonstrated by scoring the second and third place in the GTS class in Q1 and the pole in Q2”, says the technical director Mr. Costa.
The Spa-Francorchamps race event is a typical example of how the final standing doesn’t reflect a team’s real value. After getting the top positions, this time Bhai Tech had to make an empty-handed return to the Advanced Vehicle Science Centre. After leading the GTS class, the Italian-Brazilian pair was imposed an one-lap-penalty in race – 1 because of a driver shift when the safety car was still on track, while the #66 car’s race ended on the 16th lap, as Van Der Drift was a victim of a terrible accident occurred at the Raidillon (luckily the accident had no bad consequences for the driver). The car was damaged in an irreparable way “It was an awful week end. We regret we lost the chance to score two possible wins, although we demonstrated to have a good potential. In race – 1 Pantano took a very good start, setting good times and taking the lead before giving way to Rafael.”, continues Costa, “Unfortunately, in the race confusion, we called Giorgio to pit, while the safety car was still on track (that is forbidden according to law 42.5) and we were penalized. Van Der Drift went off track because of the failure of a steering wheel tie-rod’s support piece, which was damaged as a consequence of collisions. Luckily Chris was unharmed, but the car was seriously damaged, so we couldn’t get the most of the pole we scored in race-2.”
In the Sunday’s final race, a great Pantano was author of a great recovery, after taking control of the car, which was passed to him by his Brazilian team mate, who was competing on the Belgian track for the very first time. “We made Rafael run a lot during free practice, which was to give him the chance to become more familiar with the track. Spa is a very demanding and technical track, where every mistake is heavily paid. Giorgio was very good at recovering and managed to finish seventh in the GTS class.”
The Championship will move to Italy in one month, to the Monza’s “cathedral of speed”, where the seventh and second to last round will be raced. The Italian staff has to fix the car #66 “We’ve already got in touch with McLaren to order the parts we need to rebuild the car. Once we’ll be at the headquarter, we’ll immediately get to work to rebuild the car. We’ll plan to shake-down the car before the Monza race. The Championship is still open and the final part to the season will be so challenging”, ends the Brazilian engineer. The best reward after a difficult week end is to chase for release.