Devon Modell joined team-mates Ahmed Al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Darren Turner behind the wheel of the #44 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the Pro-Am Cup of the Total 24 Hours of Spa (30-31 July, 2016) racing once again with the Oman Racing Team.
Modell finished on the podium in 2015 and was naturally keen to secure a similar result in this year’s edition of the race, but despite class-leading pace, light contact and subsequent mechanical issues blighted his, and the team’s challenge. The team went on to take the chequered flag Sunday afternoon seventh in class.
“That’s racing, but I’m disappointed of course as who knows what could have been,” Modell began. “With the time lost we could have been fighting for first or second – you just never know – but certainly fighting for the podium.”
Lining up 24th overall, Jonny Adam took the first stint, running in 15th position overall early on before handing over Ahmed Al Harthy. A double stint from Turner followed before the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pulled back into the pits in order for the team to investigate a problem. This proved to be the pivotal point in the race as what emerged as light contact would later have ramifications.
Following a full service and short delay, Modell took to the circuit aiming to regain ground as darkness fell at Spa Francorchamps. However, it wasn’t to be as an oil leak forced him back to the pits for lengthy repairs dropping the team down to 16th in class at the eight-hour mark.
“It was and 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 16 hours still remaining, the team worked hard through the night where Modell was once again back behind the wheel – this time a double stint. However, having lost so much time to the class leader, it was always going to take a turn of events to secure a strong result at the Belgian venue.
Sunday dawned and the expected rain soon hit with five hours remaining with the #44 Aston Martin Advantage running tenth in class, 33rd overall. Modell took his final stint in the car before handing over again to his teammates to take to the chequered flag ninth in torrential conditions.
“We were leading our class at one point,” Modell continued with reference to the all-important six-hour mark where points are awarded. “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.”
Modell is back out next in the GT3 Le Mans Cup at Paul Ricard on 27 August 2016.