Seb Perez is denied podium spot by time penalty after strong drive at Spa

Chesterfield race ace Seb Perez claimed a top five spot at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium last weekend in the Peter Cup 2 Litre Spa Classic race.

By Paul Horton
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 1:34 pm

The 22-year-old finished in a fifth place that should have been a podium but was denied by a time penalty which put back his final standing in the race.

Perez was raring to go after his last outing in the Mugello Classic last month where he was runner up at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello circuit in Italy.

He was joined by his usual racing teammate, Nottinghamshire’s George Gamble, who fresh from the start of his rookie season in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship couldn’t wait to start in the classic endurance race.

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Seb Perez powers the Porsche at SPA. Photo by Alex Denham.

Perez’s Tuthill Porsche-prepared, #41 Franklin and Sons-sponsored, short wheelbase 2.0 litre 911 1965 Porsche 911 was looking immaculate, the pair were used to the car as had previously raced in the UK last season with it.

The race series, the 2 Litre Cup is in its fifth year and saw an entry list at Spa of 34 identical Porsche race cars. There were some well-known faces from the UK taking part that included BTCC racers Andrew Jordon and Rory Butcher.

Perez was second fastest in Friday’s free practice testing on a damp but drying track, before perfect conditions for qualifying on Saturday afternoon saw Perez take to the wheel for the first four laps and team mate Gamble finish off the 30 minute session, qualifying fourth fastest and 2.386 seconds behind pole sitters Jordon and Mark Sumpter.

Sunday morning’s race saw the #41 Porsche on the grid on the second row for the 90 minute endurance challenge ahead.

Gamble was to start proceedings and took command in the cockpit as the lights went out and by the end of lap one was in fifth place after letting Adrian Willmott and Mike Jordon through

On lap five Gamble was back into fourth spot after taking advantage of a three way battle for first place between William Paul, Andrew Smith and Lukas Bucher. He also had Mark Sumpter pushing hard behind him so the pressure was on.

Door to door action commenced for the next eight laps, Gamble keeping #77 Sumpter out as the battle in front continued and trying to make every move or look for a front runner to make a mistake.

On lap 14 Gamble charged into P2, after Paul pitted the Porsche and Smith led the pack.

A lap later Gamble took the #41 into the pits with Perez waiting to jump in and take control for the rest of the race.

Perez exited the pits in P8, the car fresh with new rubber and fuel, with speeds around the circuit of up to 186kph that saw Perez push the Porsche and make up four places a lap later.

On lap 17 the strategy worked when as expected Syd Coombes and David Danglard pitted for a driver change and Perez was in P2 and challenging the front runner and newly seated Oliver Bryant.

Perez pushed Bryant for the next eight laps at every chance he could make, putting the pressure on him but Bryant was having none of it.

On lap 26, fresh after their driver change, Andrew Jordon got past Perez with three laps remaining, but a podium for Perez was still on the cards.

As the chequered flag came out on lap 29, 90 minutes was up and Perez took the line in P3, only to find he had incurred a 1 minute 45 second time penalty for exceeding track limits, the disadvantage putting him and Gamble back into a very well earned and driven fifth place finish.

Afterwards Perez said: “It was a really good weekend and we were quite quick, we missed a little time to the front running cars. We had a good qualifying session that put us on the second row for the race, the weekend went well despite the time penalty given.

“I’m looking forward to getting out gain in Dijon, in France in two weeks’ time, a new track for me so that will be interesting. The team at Tuthill Porsche did a great job as usual.”

Perez is in action in the 2 Litre Cup at the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or at Dijon – Prenois Circuit in France on June 3.