Spa-Francorchamps, Achel (Belgium), 12 October 2023 – In spite of its reputation, there were no low hanging clouds or rain at the famous Spa-Francorchamps track when the FFR-FOR and HRA met for their final racing weekend of 2023 as part of SUPERSPA.
After two qualifying sessions that were unfortunately cut short due to minor accidents and an oil slick on the track, the race director decided at the last moment to have all HRA and FFR-FOR cars in a single start group. With some cars having had only a few qualifying rounds to set a good time, the starting grid for race one was a bit of mix. In race two the start groups were separated, with the FFR-FOR cars starting 30 seconds behind the HRA group, as originally planned. This allowed the two leaders from the HRA, the F3s from Stephan Lechine and Valerio Leone, both with the same number of points, to determine who ultimately wins their championship.
In Race 1 the Formula Opels from David Schneider (#12), Maxime Lebreton (#129), Pascal Monbaron (#96), Ralf Goral (#9) and Jochen Thissen (#28) occupied the first start rows together with the F3s from Stephan Lechine, Valerio Leone and Louis Henkefend from the HRA. Unfortunately Lebreton and Pascal Monbaron suffered a collision at la Source and had to pull out, while Jochen Thissen suffered from technical difficulties and drove into the pit in round 4. Both Goral and Schneider kept up well with the F3s, with Schneider managing to overtake Goral on the outside in Bruxelles and thus winning the Formula Opel class ahead of Goral and Alan Williamson (#60).
In race 2, Goral and Schneider started from pole position and initially it was David Schneider at the head of the FFR-FOR group. However, when they caught up with the rear HRA cars, Ralf Goral was the first to get through in the ensuing mêlée and take the first position. In the last round Schneider succeeds in passing Goral again but when Schneider is blocked by a slower F3, Goral passes him again and wins the Formula Opel class, with Schneider second and Jochen Thissen third.
Henk van der Spoel (#59) and Onno Zuidema (#69) were the first FF2000s on the 7th row of the grid with Geert Wynants ((#95) and Jannik Sadolin (#46) not much further back. Van der Spoel was quick to gain the lead, with Zuidema closely behind, when they briefly touched at Fagnes causing both cars to spin. However, Van der Spoel was able to continue through the gravel, with Zuidema having to join at the rear, only to lose the car when overtaking some slower drivers in the Les Combes chicane. Jannik Sadolin (#46) was able to profit and finish second in the FF2000 class. His Danish compatriot Lars Clasen (#15) had a great race as well and finished third, only 5 seconds behind.
In race 2 Van der Spoel was the first of the FF2000 class to go through La Source but battling it out with one of the Formula Opels at Bus Stop, he was braking too late and spun, with Sadolin and Wynants profiting. Thanks to a safety car situation Van der Spoel was able to catch up and after another safety car situation, was able to slipstream past Wynants. Jannik Sadolin (#46) was able to secure his first class win in the FF2000 class, with Van der Spoel second and Wynants third, less then a second apart.
With two cars the FF1600 was the smallest class at Spa-Francorchamps. FFR-FOR veteran Roel Mulder (#22) won both races. Bob Scanlon (#146) who came all the way from Ireland to join the FFR-FOR at Spa-Francorchamps, initially wanted to start in his FF 2000. But, when it broke down in the 1st qualifying session, he was allowed to change into his FF1600, ending the race as second in his class, even though his wasn’t able to finish in race 2.
Thus ended the 2023 racing season for the FFR-FOR, with an exciting racing weekend at one of the greatest race tracks in the world. The FFR-FOR will be back next year with another interesting programme with races in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.