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24 Hours of Spa: Second row and pole in the Pro-Am for Menten-Kox-Hayek!
Mid-June Reiter Engineering headed on down to the Belgian Ardennes for an initial endurance test, and at which time Jos Menten, Peter Kox and Marc Hayek worked off an impressive run. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 was extremely fast, but with ever changing climatic conditions could not count on Lady Luck. “A poor dress rehearsal usually implies a great concert”, Jos Menten promised following the Belcar race. Six weeks after that dress rehearsal it is now time for the harder work. The 63rd edition of the 24 Hours of Spa promises to be one of the heaviest, with no less than 20 likely candidates for victory, representing 13 makes. The 30 year old Jos Menten is joined by fellow countryman Peter Kox and the Swiss driver Marc Hayek in the Blancpain Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 with start number 24, entered by the German Reiter Engineering team.

“Nobody comes on down to this edition of the 24 Hours of Spa in a supporting role”, Jos Menten kicks off the conversation. “And definitely not us! Our absolute target is a podium place in the Pro-Am category, and to finish as high as possible in the overall rankings. Definitely no sinecure, and in this strong field every mistake can be costly. The key factors are consistency and faultless driving; this is the only way to achieve a result in the endurance race. The recent Belcar race was an ideal preparation for this gruelling event which awaits us. These last few years the weather Gods have always become involved in the proceedings, which is why the experience gained is crucial”, Menten continued just before the start of the first free practice session.

Menten’s predictions are correct, because the free practice takes place on a drying track. “We all took our time in reconnoitring the track, without taking any risks. Our intention is to take the start with a correct set-up, without compromise. In no way does a 27th best time reflect our true potential”, the Haelen based driver commented. The rain also upsets the pre-qualifying session. Menten, Kox and Hayek register an 18th time.

Track conditions remain variable, with the odd heavy downpour. The first qualifying session is held on a wet track. The Blancpain Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 of Reiter climbs up into fourth spot, confirming the top form the Dutch-Swiss trio are in. In the meanwhile dusk sets in and just before the start of the second qualifying session the heavens open up once again. Team manager Hans Reiter decides to keep the car in the pit box. “There’s no point in going chasing great lap times in these conditions. According to our information it should stop raining later, and then we’ll give it another try”, Menten remarked at the end of the second qualifying session.

The third session turns into a mad rush to clinch pole position. The conditions improve lap after lap, the track dries out, and the Lamborghini of Menten, Kox, Hayek become involved in the battle for top spot on the starting grid. Not taking any risks Kox storms on through to a fourth best time, and a place on the second row of the grid, as also the pole in the Pro-Am class! “For this race second row on the grid is the ideal starting position. We’re not starting out in the middle of the pack and as such we’ll avoid the confusion in the initial laps. However the heaviest assignment still awaits us. So it’s rendezvous tomorrow at 16.00hrs at the foot of the Eau Rouge!” Jos Menten, the winner of the 24 Hours of Spa 2009, commented and smiled.
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20/07/2013 - Reinoldus-rennen
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