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24 Hours of Spa: Menten finishes eleventh
Jos Menten, Peter Kox, Marc A. Hayek and Albert von Thurn en Taxis finished the 24 Hours of Spa in eleventh place. However for the black Lamborghini Gallardo with start number 24 the outcome could have been better. The sole representative of the Italian make was undoubtedly the trendsetter in the Pro-Am class. “A race full of ups and downs. We had no trouble in keeping to the pace of the top-5 overall and led the Pro-Am class for a long period”, is how Jos Menten started off his account of the race. “After the first intermediate sprint, after six hours of racing, we were still leading the Pro-Am, and in an honourable fifth spot overall. Unfortunately just after midnight we experienced some bad luck. A rear wheel problem brought us down in the rankings. We still fought back, but we then had to deal with further set backs. All in all it’s still a very fine performance for us to finish in eleventh place.”


Having started out from seventh place on the grid Peter Kox immediately made up two places. The black Lamborghini in the livery of the Swiss watchmaker Blancpain came through in fifth place overall. Seeing a 24 hours race is never won in the first race hour, the decision was taken to slightly reduce the pace. “From a strategic point of view it will be a difficult race”, Menten predicts, just as the heavens open up. Under near on apocalyptic conditions Race Control sees no other option than to neutralise the race with a safety-car procedure. “Luckily the team always made the right decision, and we were able to control the race in our class.”

Sustained rainstorm and several accidents resulted in frequent race interruptions: “The large starting field also implies a larger number of track incidents. At times the differences in speed are enormous, especially in these difficult conditions. On top of that it gets dark early now, so it will only become even more difficult”, the 31 year old driver commented around 22.00hrs. After six hours of racing the Blancpain Reiter Lamborghini clinches full points for first place in the Pro-Am class, still holding a brilliant fifth place overall.

It is around midnight that for the first time matters turn sour for Hans Reiter’s troops: “A rear wheel was not fully tight, whereby we called the car back in to the pits. We lost several laps whilst in the pits and needed to start a catch-up race”, the Dutchman sighed. The Lamborghini had dropped back out of the top-20 overall. Together with his fellow countryman Peter Kox Jos Menten drove the major part of the night session. “We pushed really hard in order to regain lost time. The car is highly reliable and it was only human error which held us back. We finally succeeded in getting back into the race, and who knows a podium place in class might still be feasible”, the Dutchman remarked after 14 hours into the race.

As dawn broke the Sant’Agata Raging Bull was back in fifth place in Pro-Am, and Menten and teammates are once again knocking on the door of the top-ten overall … but once again Lady Luck is not on the side of the Lamborghini drivers. An electronic problem is resolved in the pit lane, but the drivers of the muscle car bearing start number 24 have to go back out for a catch-up race. “Up until that minor electronic problem the car was running like a Swiss watch. It’s a great pity that we are losing out on the top-3 in our class, but on the other hand we still managed to produce a good result in this highly competitive race. We have definitely proven that one has to take this beautiful Lamborghini Gallardo into account”, a proud Menten concluded.

Following an excellent final sprint the Blancpain Reiter Lamborghini Gallardo takes the chequered flag in eleventh place, and as sixth in the Pro-Am class.
 
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