Friday 20 April 2012

FIA WEC: Programme for the week of the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

Programme for the week of the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
As with the Sebring 12 hours, the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, will take place on a Saturday. On the 5th May 2012 Championship contenders will be joined by other teams and drivers using the event as a final rehearsal ahead of the 24 Heures du Mans in June, or to add a second car to their line up, as with Pescarolo Team and Signatech-Nissan.

The week begins with the traditional scrutineering process Wednesday 2nd May from 8:30 to 20:00 and Thursday 3rd May from 8:00 to 10:00.

Two free practice sessions of one hour and a half each are scheduled on Thursday at 11:45, then to 16h25, giving the teams and drivers time to set up their cars for the tricky Belgian Ardennes circuit.

A third and final free practice session of one hour on Friday 4th May at 10:00, will give competitors a final chance to adjust settings before the twenty minutes of class qualification on Friday afternoon. The LMGTE Pro and Am classes and open the proceedings at 15:10 before giving way to LMP1 and LMP2 at 15:40.

Competitors have a warm-up of twenty minutes on Saturday 5th May beginning at 10:05 before moving on to the pre-grid activities including an autograph session to be held in the pit lane from 12:00 to 13:00, which is open to all spectators. The green flag will drop at 14:30 for the 6 hours of racing.

Spectators can watch two other races as a curtain raiser for the FIA World Endurance Championship. On Saturday morning the second round of the Radical Masters will take place at 9:00 and the Speed Series at 10:45, which features prototypes that serve as a springboard for future stars of the FIA WEC.

Discovering Sp-Francorchamps
Away from main roads and waterways the relatively small (10,000 inhabitants), town of Spa did not have much of a chance of becoming famous. However, this was changed by the commercial exploitation of mineral water sources and the racetrack founded in 1921.

The area in mainly French speaking southern Belgium has had its heyday in the 18th century thanks to the 'spas' that attracted royalty from across Europe, like the Czar Peter the Great. A spectacular fire destroyed the splendour of the city centre in 1807.

However, the name of Spa has passed into the English language where the word "spa" now applies to any health and beauty resort, with hot springs or mineral water.

Known for its water source since Roman times, it was not until the early 20th century that industrial exploitation of spring water began in the region, the same year as the commencement of construction of the circuit in which a turn is named for iron-rich carbonated water sources, Pouhon.

Spa Francorchamps is internationally known because its name is attached to the first official name of the circuit. The city, originally Francorchamps, is only the name of a district of the town of Stavelot (another turn of the circuit) from the merger of several villages in the late 70s. But mother nature has endowed the Francorchamps with a valley whose mere mention sends shivers down the spine of all race drivers: Eau Rouge.

On the 5th May 2012, in the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, cars and drivers will be tested to the limit by the famous Raidillon - Eau Rouge combination, taken flat-out.
Jeff Carter/Media Delegate.

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