For the second season in succession, Jetalliance Racing saw its challenge in the Spa 24 Hours come to an end during the seventh hour of the race.
The team had been leading last year before being forced into retirement while this time around, Karl Wendlinger, Ryan Sharp, Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer and Alex Muller were sat in fifth place when Wendlinger crashed out – collecting the Corvette of Mike Hezemans in the process.
“It happened under braking for a corner,” he said. “I saw that an overtaking manoeuvre was taking place right in front of me, so I got out of the throttle earlier to take no risk. As soon as I hit the brakes, my Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9 spun 180 degrees, first brushing the tyre walls with the side of the car, then collecting a competitor, before ultimately slamming into the crash barriers on the other side.
“The only explanation I have is that I must have hit a damp patch on the track under braking. This retirement is obviously a very bitter one, especially since we had been running so well.”
Team owner Lichtner-Hoyer admitted he was disappointed with the retirement, with the team having gone into the event as one of the favourites.
“Spa doesn't seem to like us – the ominous seventh hour in particular,” he said. “It's really like a jinx. We were running well and would have been able to get onto the podium. Right now, the disappointment within the entire team is just very huge.”