Once again, the Raidillon corner at Spa-Francorchamps has lived up to its reputation as one of the trickiest corners on the 7km circuit. Three drivers have already fallen foul of the corner, forcing their respective teams into making extensive repairs to their cars.
JSB Compétition’s Julien Briché was the first of those three when his Peugeot 308 went off during Free Practice 2 on Friday. The extensive damage to the front and left-hand side of the car meant Briché’s mechanics spent the night rebuilding the car, finishing the job at around 06.00 on Saturday morning. Briché went on to qualify in sixth place, rewarding his team for their hard work.
Then, in the first part of Saturday’s two-stage Qualifying session, the Peugeot of Teddy Clairet joined Briché’s similar car on the casualty list. Clairet fell victim to Raidillon at the same place as Briché, damaging the left rear corner. Although Clairet’s time in the session was enough to see him go through to Q2, the car was too badly damaged to start the session and so the French driver will start both races from twelfth position on the grid.
The third driver to fall foul of Raidillon was Championship leader Josh Files. After having his fastest lap disallowed for infringing track limits, Files was pushing to make it into the top twelve places and so go through to Q2 when he hit the barriers hard, bringing out the red flags. The Target Competition team set to work to repair the extensive front-end damage, but Files isn’t confident that the car will be ready in time for Race 1 and is also concerned that the engine was damaged in the impact. Even if the team manages to win its race against time to repair the car, there wont be enough time to change the engine and so the English driver will be forced to tackle Race 1 with a suspect powerplant issue.
Picture: courtesy Neil Hudson/Touringcartimes.com