LMP3 Cup
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It was the penultimate round of the Le Mans Cup as 360 Racing arrived at Spa Francorchamps, with high hopes for both Terrence Woodward/Tommy Foster and Mark Richards/Belen Garcia.

Richards was 11th quickest in qualifying, “I got one clear lap but I just wasn’t pushing hard enough to get a better time,” he admitted. Woodward was further down the order too than hoped with 15th place.

It was a good start for Richards, making three places on the opening lap, but it was chaos behind with collisions at the La Source Hairpin.

Woodward had managed to escape the chaos to come through 19th, but the safety car was out and stayed out for another 20 minutes before the race went live again. “Terrence did well to avoid it all, but had to take to the gravel,” said Foster.

“I made a mistake at the restart, I had gone ahead of two cars through the bus stop before the start, so gave them back to avoid a penalty, but five cars went by,” said Richards as he slipped to 12th place.

There was just four minutes of racing before the safety car was out again to repair tyre wall damage, which, brought the opening stint right up to the pitstop window.

Woodward came in on lap 11 from 13th to hand to Foster and Richards came in a lap later to hand over to Garcia from eighth place.

After the stops were completed and yet another safety car intervention, Foster had the lead from lap 15, but was being caught by United Autosports Boyd.

They were barely inches apart along the Kemmel Straight on lap 20, taking Les Combes side by side before Boyd edged ahead.

“We were expecting the green flag and fell into line, but I got some wheelspin at the restart and he was able to match my pace,” Foster explained.

Gradually the lead grew, but Foster was a safe second as the chequered flag came out, with only 15 of the 32 laps completed under race conditions.

Celebrationswere halted yet again when a post-race penalty dropped Woodward and Foster to17th, but a stirring second half drive from Garcia saw her take seventhat the flag, after a late move on Verheyen.

With Cool Racing’s Droux joining Woodward and Foster both receiving a post-race penalty too, Richards and Garcia were finally classified fifth.

“We managed to avoid any damage and got P5 really, by not crashing,” Richards concluded, as the Championship now moves to the Algarve Circuit near Portimao for its finale on October 21st.

Published by Peter Scherer for 360 Racing, 25th September 2023

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