After five different winners from seven races at Yas Marina and Prague, we’ve finally seen two previous winners sweep a weekend. The Spa Sprint was a weekend of total domination by the Nissan RyZbY28 Racing JHP team as both Castrol/Monster entries locked out the top spot in every session and race. But behind them it was action aplenty as a race 2 crash saw almost everyone wiped out on the back straight. Let’s take a look at all the action from round 3 of the 2017 LXG V8 Supercars Championship from Spa Francorchamps.
Qualifying: West takes back-to-back poles
12-months since his maiden “official” pole position at Spa, Nissan’s Ryan West set the pace once again as he sniped the top spot from teammate Jacob Harvey by a little under three tenths of a second. Their performance was enough to make it an all-RyZbY28 Racing JHP front-row, a feat they had never achieved before as full-time teammates.
Race 1: Harvey leads a 1-2 for RyZbY28 Racing JHP
Jacob Harvey has taken a historic victory as he and teammate Ryan West cross the line in a 1-2 for Nissan RyZbY28 Racing JHP. The #1 and #28 drivers led from the front-row and were never headed as they duelled for the top step of the podium out in front. The win for Harvey marks his third for the season and his 79th in total. AD Sport’s Andrew Dyson came home in third after Adrian Yalpi was given a 5-second penalty to his race time for breaching track limits.
West got the jump from pole and led the field into turn 1. Back in the pack, Will Joseph made nose-to-tail contact with Brodie Moore and Chris Snarf which sent Moore’s Falcon spinning in front of the field.
Into turn 6 Harvey had a crack at West for the lead but had to tuck back in behind as car #28 took the apex. Yalpi was making ground to as he grabbed sixth from Matthew Bink. Half a lap later Bink got the spot back from the #999 entry as the exited turn 14.
Further back Troy Warner was making inroads, moving up several spots on the opening lap after starting from the rear of the grid.
Bink, Joseph, Moore, Don Hill, Phill Tasker and Gavin Deriu all pitted in the first two laps to gain clear track in the early stages of the race.
Meanwhile out in front it was on between the teammates as a sloppy exit from Eau Rouge left West vulnerable on the run to turn 6. Harvey ranged up on the outside but was forced to slot back into second once again.
Dyson continued to lead the battle-pack from third to fifth as Yalpi now tailed Reyn Campbell for fourth. Campbell pitted at the end of the lap and rejoined just ahead of Bink.
West pitted on lap 5 and left Harvey in the lead and was joined shortly after by Yalpi. Harvey stopped two laps later and rejoined in the lead after successfully performing the over-cut on West.
Dyson pitted too and rejoined just behind Yalpi who charged through to third on the last lap run into Eau Rouge.
Harvey crossed the line with West alongside as they took their first 1-2 as the newly merged RyZbY28 Racing JHP team. Yalpi came across the line third but was penalised post race, handing third to Dyson.
Race 2: West takes his second win of the season
Ryan West has taken his second win of the season with victory in race 2 of the Spa Sprint. His second win came after he was forced to recover from a lap 1 shunt that took most of the field out at the top of the hill. He drove superbly and took the lead with two-laps to run from kiwi Nissan privateer Don Hill. Hill and Reyn Campbell came home second and third but were later swapped after Hill received a track limit penalty of five-seconds.
The race began with a disconnection for race 1 winner Jacob Harvey. The reigning champ fell out of the race and was forced to spectate before starting from last for the last race of the event.
Corey Minton and James Catchpole shared the front row of the reverse grid race with Catchpole getting the jump to lead the pack into turn 1. The carnage was set off from there as Blake Tye made contact with Gavin Deriu’s Nissan at the first corner.
That sent a shock wave through the pack and Snarf cannoned into Will Joseph’s Team 88 Holden Commodore. They all escaped relatively unscathed save for a few bent panels.
As they ran up through Eau Rouge Brodie Moore ran straight through the inside of turn 4 and cannoned right into the side of Joseph’s Commodore.
They spun which left the rest of the pack with nowhere to go with the track now effectively blocked. The field piled into the crash with Jesse Tekin and Chris Snarf spiralling over the top of the chaos.
It was one of the biggest crashes seen in an LXG race and the incident was investigated post-race.
Out in front Catchpole continued to lead having missed the car park at turn 4. He led from Shane Clarke, Corey Minton, Don Hill and Troy Warner who rounded out the top five.
The next big moment came at the penultimate corner when Daniel Ferraro tagged the wall after a scary spin. He rejoined in front of the oncoming cars and was collected by several cars, causing another massive crash.
Meanwhile West was pushing closer to the front as he moved by Campbell in car #5. That left only Hill’s Nissan and Catchpole’s Volvo in front.
Catchpole pitted which handed West second place and a couple of laps later he took over the lead with a criss-cross move on Hill at turns 15 and 16.
He went on to win with Hill second and Campbell third. Hill’s excessive use of track limits saw him drop back behind Campbell but he remained in a podium position.
Race 3: West wins again as Harvey charges to third
Ryan West has gone back-to-back with a lights to flag victory in the final race of the Spa Sprint. The Castrol/Monster Nissan driver took his third win of the season while his teammate Jacob Harvey stormed from 19th to 3rd to recover from a disappointing retirement in race 2. It ensures that the Nissan team stays in contention for both championships after the consistent performance from Black Diamond Racing.
West got the jump from the line to maintain the lead into the first corner. The rest of the field got through cleanly and filed up the hill on the opening lap through Eau Rouge.
From the back Harvey was pushing hard, passing seven cars on the opening lap to be 12th as he pitted with Adrian Yalpi, Matthew Bink, Will Joseph, Wade Faber and Corey Minton.
Reyn Campbell tried to take third from Andrew Dyson at turn 1 but was forced to give up as Dyson got the run on the way into Eau Rouge once more.
Harvey moved up to fifth on the corrected order on lap 3 with a move on Joseph at turn 15. He then set about hunting down Yalpi and Bink who were now running third and fourth respectively.
That chance came with two laps to go when Bink clobbered the back of the #999 Holden on the way into the final chicane. Yalpi ran wide and Bink was forced to check up and redress which allowed Harvey to pounce into turn 1.
He got by Bink and then took third when Yalpi ran wide at turn 6 the next time around. The #999 driver fell back to fifth but was elevated back into fourth when Bink copped a track limit penalty post-race.
But out in front, West closed out an almost perfect weekend with another victory with Andrew Dyson and Jacob Harvey second and third.