12-13 May 2023 / FRANCORCHAMPS / BELGIUM
GENT DRIVERS TO THE FORE AT SPA CLASSIC MEETING
Just five weeks after a thrilling nose to tail race at the home of the Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello – the 2 Litre Cup circus was back in action in front of capacity crowds at the infamous Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend – popularly ‘the best F1 circuit in the world’.
Once again, the two day format made for a much more efficient timescale, compared with the three days of the previous seasons, with Practice and Qualifying on Friday and then the 90 minute race itself at 4pm on the Saturday afternoon.
You can’t go to Spa and not get wet, it’s obligatory. Accordingly, the heavens opened regularly throughout the weekend, normally as the 2 Litre Cup paddock was standing outside in the sunshine and getting ready to race…
One positive feature of the Spa weekend was that we once again welcomed more new competitors to the series: Patrick Pugin, from France, Seng Gee Ong (Singapore), Tim Pappas (California) with long time team mate and 2008 & 2009 Porsche Supercup Champion Jeroen Bleekemolen (Holland), Jürgen Westphal and Norbert Schmitz-Koep from Germany and Elliot Sucari (Argentina) joined us for the first time. It was great to have them onboard and we look forward to seeing them all at future rounds this year.
Qualifying saw overall Championship leaders Perez & Gamble meet their Elite grading with another pole position, their time of 3.03 (on brand new tyres) nearly 3 seconds slower than 2022’s pole time by Andrew Jordan, set on buffed tyres. Highlighting a theme of the weekend, Gentleman Championship leader Bon Grimes was an exceptionally impressive 2nd overall, less than 0.6 seconds from pole and out-qualifying 9 Elite drivers…
Race day was warm and dry – right up until about 20 minutes before the 2 Litre Cup race started. Then we had a proper deluge, leading to some last minute setting changes that varied from car to car as teams softened dampers, disconnected anti-roll bars and changed the brake balance to the rear, pre-grid. The start was on time at 1600 and the pack disappeared into Eau Rouge and up the Kemmel Straight to Les Combes in an absolute ball of spray.
Seb took an immediate lead that he would hold for the first 10 laps. Behind him, though, there was a battle royale with Grimes holding off Coll, up from 4th on the grid, while former European Le Mans Series Champion Oli Webb moved up from his 6th place position to take the lead on lap 10.
Coll was on a mission and was trading times with the quickest drivers. With a 40 second penalty for the all-Elite no 77 car of Perez & Gamble, Coll emerged with a lead of more than 50 seconds…. With just 12 laps remaining, George was really going to need to hit it to catch let alone pass Christian and so it proved with George just not able to cut the gap enough.
Tragically for him, though, Christian had been sanctioned twice for exceeding track limits and thus a 45 second penalty was handed to him…. Leaving Perez and Gamble to drive calmly to take their second win this year from two starts.
Behind them, 2022 Gentleman / Elite Champion David Verzijlbergen was chasing down Ambrogio Perfetti and Bon Grimes for the last podium spot. It was not to be but he still set the fastest lap of the race, an astonishing 3.05 on the last lap, a full second quicker than Gamble.
Sixth overall, and 2nd in Gentleman / Elite on their series debut, having set a fastest lap en route, were Bleekemolen and Pappas, in their new Historika car, a fine result given that they had never driven the car before this meeting.
In the paddock afterwards, everyone was buzzing about their 90 minutes on this superb circuit, truly a privilege for all involved. The next round is at the wonderful Dijon circuit in France in just two weeks’ time, with practice and qualifying on the Friday again and then race on Saturday afternoon. Some say it is “The Best” circuit for a 2-litre short wheelbase 911 in the world – let’s see!
It’s only right that the Spirit of the Weekend award goes to…. Christian Coll who truly drove an exceptional race as a Gentleman driver – CONGRATULATIONS !!
01 Seb PEREZ / George GAMBLE 
02 Christian COLL 
03 Daniele PERFETTI / Ambrogio PERFETTI 
04 Bonamy GRIMES 
05 Lukas BUCHER / David VERZIJLBERGEN 
06 Timothy PAPPAS / Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN 
07 David DANGLARD 
08 Max MORITZ / Vincent KOLB 
09 Evgeny KIREEV / Philip KADOORIE 
10 Jürgen RUDOLPH / Heiko HAMMEL 
11 Stephen EDWARDS / Matt NEAL 
12 Seng Gee ONG / James COTTINGHAM 
13 Stephan KOENIG / Philipp KOENIG 
14 Patrick PUGIN / Charles RUPP 
15 Frédéric DI EGIDIO 
16 Erwin VAN LIESHOUT / Armand ADRIAANS 
17 Francisco SA CARNEIRO / Antonio SIMOES 
18 Frank STRICKER 
19 David NOGAREDA 
20 Jussi ITAVUORI / Risto VIRTANEN 
21 Christophe FLORIN 
22 Uwe KOLB / Patrick KOLB 
23 Franck DECHAME 
24 Norbert SCHMITZ-KOEP / Juergen WESTPHAL 
25 Francisco LARA RESENDE 
26 Guy ZISER / Oli WEBB 
27 Jose Ruben ZANCHETTA / James TURNER 
Elliot SUCARI