Battle for the podium at the 24h Spa-Francorchamps comes to an early end for Walkenhorst Motorsport.

Spa-Francorchamps. Walkenhorst Motorsport battled for the
podium with both BMW M6 GT3s at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
(BEL), but their strong performance went unrewarded. Both cars
retired during the night. The #35 BMW M6 GT3, with Martin Tomczyk,
Timo Glock (both GER) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) at the wheel, was
damaged in a collision. The #34 BMW M6 GT3 suffered a technical
issue. That car was shared by Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Marco
Wittmann (GER) and David Pittard (GBR).


When night fell after the opening stage with periods of heavy rain,
the #35 was on track to the podium in third place. A collision
occurred shortly before midnight, however, while Tomczyk was lapping
another car and the left front suspension broke. After a repair break,
the #35 returned to the track but then had to retire. The #34, which
successfully fought its way back up the field after tyre damage early
on, was then in line for a podium finish, but Pittard was forced to
park the car at the edge of the track at around half past three in the
morning when the car lost drive.


The #10 BMW M6 GT3 of Boutson Ginion Racing, which contested the
Pro-Am Cup, crossed the finish line in 35th position. Jens Klingmann
(GER), Karim Ojjeh (KSA), Jens Liebhauser (GER) and Yann Zimmer (SUI)
took turns at the wheel of the car.


Quotes from the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps:


Niclas Königbauer (Team Manager Walkenhorst
“Obviously, it is a bitter disappointment. We
were up there fighting for the podium with both cars. The drivers and
the whole team were highly motivated, and we saw that we had the pace
in the race, but sometimes things work out differently than you hope.
The fact that two unfortunate situations meant we didn’t finish with
either car makes us very sad – particularly as it was the BMW M6 GT3’s
farewell race here at Spa-Francorchamps.”


Sheldon van der Linde (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst
“It’s a very bitter pill to swallow after such a
strong start to the weekend. We were up there in every single session
and I honestly think we had all the ingredients to win this race but
unfortunately we had to retire the car early in the morning. It’s a
big shame, especially as both cars were out. It hurts twice as much
when you are in such a good position and know you have a strong
package and all you need to do is to bring it home. But Spa is such a
hard race to win, you need so much luck and you have so many different
factors involved that all need to fall into place and unfortunately
that wasn’t the case this year.”


Marco Wittmann (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst
“Obviously, it is a disappointing outcome for
us, especially seeing as both cars retired. We had incredibly strong
pace and were in the position of being able to battle for the podium
or even the win. After tyre damage in the opening stage, we battled
our way back up through the field gradually, and I handed the car over
to David in third place. But then we had to retire. It’s really sad
because we had a strong car and wanted to commemorate the BMW M6 GT3
with a different result in its final 24-hour race at Spa. But that’s
motorsport for you.”


David Pittard (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst
“I am obviously very disappointed for us in both
the #34 car and the #35 car. Walkenhorst Motorsport had prepared two
front-running cars but then unfortunately both had issues while
running in the top three. Unfortunately, that is endurance racing and
you always have to expect these things but it makes it all the more
painful when you are running so close to the front. A big thanks to
all the team for all their efforts to make the car so quick and put us
in such a competitive position. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be
this year for Walkenhorst Motorsport and BMW.”


Martin Tomczyk (#35 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst
“It’s a shame that both cars retired. Everything
was going really well for us in the #35, we had a strong pace, the car
was good and I was faster than the two leaders in my stint. I was
within reach of them but then the collision happened while overtaking.
That brought the 24-hour race to an end for us. It was a real shame,
but these are the kind of things that happen in motorsport, however
bitter they may be. Now we’re focussing on the next race, which will
hopefully turn out better.”


Timo Glock (#35 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport):
“Both cars retiring was a real shame for the whole team. But that’s
24-hour races. Our car was really good, we were in the top three, had
a flawless race with strong stints, had no track limit warnings and
nothing. Before the accident we were at a very, very good level and
were in a really good position for getting a strong result. Martin and
Thomas drove fantastic stints, and I was also very pleased with mine.
I had good pace and worked the car up into the top three. I felt very
at ease in the car.”


Thomas Neubauer (#35 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst
“It was really heartbreaking to see both our
BMWs retiring from the race. We all had a really strong pace and
everyone, the drivers, Walkenhorst Motorsport and BMW did a great job
this weekend. That is why it’s even tougher to finish like this. But
we showed that we were fighting for the top positions, and now we just
need to keep our head high and move on to the next race. A big thank
you to Walkenhorst Motorsport and BMW for providing such an amazing
car. It was so much fun driving this car. It was not the way we wanted
to finish the last 24 hours of Spa for the BMW M6 GT3 but it is what
it is. Motorsport can be an amazing sport and very ruthless at the
same time.”