Halliday Upbeat After Dramatic Spa 24 Hour Race
MATTHEW HALLIDAY RACING - MEDIA RELEASE
Date: 29th July 2013.
Halliday Upbeat After Dramatic Spa 24 Hour Race.
American based New Zealand racing driver Matt Halliday has come away from his debut appearance in the Total 24 Hours of Spa race with an upbeat attitude despite his disappointment at not finishing the endurance classic. Held at Belgium’s Spa-Franchorchamps circuit, the race was the fourth round of the high profile Blancpain Endurance Series for GT sports cars.
Halliday and his co-drivers Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof (Austria) and female driver Rahel Frey (Switzerland), contested their Audi R8 LMS ULTRA GT3 as part of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT organisation against a full field of 65 cars.
With the Balance of Performance equation not working to the Audis advantage, Halliday qualified their car in 35th grid position despite his setting the 9th fastest time in night time qualifying. After making a superb start and passing several cars on the opening lap, the trio battled their way up to 14th place after seven hours. Drama then struck when Mayr-Melnhof was hit by another car necessitating a lengthy pit stop dropping the car down the field.
Another fight back ensued and soon after the half way mark, the car was up to 26th place and improving when a punctured tyre caused Halliday to leave the track on the high speed Eau Rouge corner. Unfortunately, with damage too severe to continue, the car was withdrawn from the race at that point:
“The first stint was great as I passed eight cars on the opening lap and the car had pretty good pace over a stint. However, it was a difficult race weekend for all the Audis as we all did our best but with the speed difference on the straights we were always getting swamped despite moving forward into the top 15 early on.
“Niki got hit during the night and we lost 10 laps replacing the front left corner and then at about 4:00am I had tyre failure at high speed going through Eau Rouge. I managed to scrape off a fair bit of speed and got the car back to the pits but the decision was made to retire the car” said Halliday afterwards.
However, Belgian Audi Club WRT still had something to celebrate when their No 2 Audi took 3rd place outright after the grueling 24 hours of racing. The 1000 kilometre final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series will take place at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit on the 22nd of September.
BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES CALENDER:
Round 1 - April 14th –
Monza, Italy (3 Hours)
Round 2 - June 2nd – Silverstone, Great Britain (3 Hours)
Round 3 - June 30th – Paul Ricard, France (3 Hours)
Round 4 - July 27th & 28th – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (24 Hours)
Round 5 - September 22nd - Nürburgring, Germany (1000 km)