26 July, 2009
Andrew Kirkaldy, Rob Bell, Peter Kox and Antonio Garcia finished in third place in the 2009 Spa 24 Hours today, taking CRS Racing’s first ever 24-hour podium finish. With the sister Ferrari of Chris Niarchos, Tim Mullen, Phil Quaife and Chris Goodwin also finishing well in sixth place, the CRS team stands firm in second place in the 2009 FIA GT GT2 Team’s Championship.
Everything ran smoothly for CRS after a few teething troubles yesterday. In the early hours of this morning especially the team was running like clockwork. The only problem came at 1045hrs when Rob Bell had to bring the No.56 Ferrari into the garage to have it’s starter motor repaired, just as the No.55 car needed last night. The team turned the car around in just 11 minutes, even making other repairs to the tailgate at the same time. Considering their tiredness it was a fantastic achievement.
From that point the name of the game was to stay on the track and fight for points. The final hour of the race though was agonising for the team as the No.56 Ferrari developed a problem with its gearbox. With no time to change it the decision was taken to brim it with oil and hope it hung on until the chequered flag. It did but Peter Kox had a real handful, having to drive in just fifth gear!
“That was a difficult race for us but we got there in the end,” said Andrew Kirkaldy. “We had a very strong driver line-up and we were quick throughout the race. We had our problems at the beginning but that’s the way it goes with 24-hour races. The podium is great and it’s good for our championship. I want to say a big thank you to the crew who turned the car around very fast for us every time we came into the pits.”
“Andrew said we had a few small problems but I would say they ! were bigger than that as I drove the last two hours of the race in fifth gear!” explained Peter Kox. “It was a great pleasure for me to drive the Ferrari 430. Antonio (Garcia) and I were here as the third and fourth drivers, with a goal to help the team score points. We achieved that so I am very happy.”
Speaking on behalf of the No.55 crew, Chris Niarchos said: “We had a great run through the night and made back a lot of the places we lost when we changed our starter motor yesterday. After a fraught start we had a smooth race that all four of us thoroughly enjoyed. It’s fantastic that the other car got on the podium. Of course we would have loved to have join them up there but as a team effort it was a great day.”