Devon Modell headed to the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa with a clear goal in his mind, make it to the podium once again, as he did in 2015, unfortunately this year he would miss out.
Joined by Ahmed Al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Darren Turner behind the wheel of the Oman Racing Team #44 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the four drivers showed front-running pace, but mechanical issues and some contact would put the team out of the running for a podium position, leaving them in seventh place as the chequered flag came out.
“That’s racing, but I’m disappointed of course as who knows what could have been,” Modell said. “With the time lost we could have been fighting for first or second – you just never know – but certainly fighting for the podium.”
The team started from twenty forth place on the grid and Adam took the first stint before Al Harthy took over. A double stint from long-term Aston Martin driver Turner was cut short when he was forced to pit as the team investigated issues from light contact.
Modell headed back out on track after a full service on the car and set about regaining the lost time as darkness fell over Spa Francorchamps. An oil leak would send the car back to the pits as they dropped down the order at the eight-hour mark.
“It was an oil pipe from the contact and we had to change the oil cooler,” Modell explained. “The oil was going on the screen, tyres and exhaust and we’re probably quite lucky as it could have caught fire. I was driving almost blind and couldn’t see anything through the windscreen but we got it back to the pits. But even under the safety car it cost us eight laps – 22-minutes – and that ultimately determined the race for us.”
With sixteen hours remaining the team worked through the night and Modell would serve a double stint.
As the sun came up and the rain came in, the team worked hard to bring the car home in one piece. “We were leading our class at one point,” said Modell.
“In fact we even had the overall lead at the four-hour point. The pace was good and despite one issue, we stayed out of trouble. Even when we lost the laps, we continued to push as you just never know what’s going to happen.
“We were still chasing a result, just not the one we wanted.”