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Race Report: VEC Round Two -- 8 Hours of Spa

The 2021 Virtual Endurance Championship (VEC) took to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the second round of its endurance calendar, and Satellite Racing came to fight, with three of its six entries finishing in the top-5 of their respective classes. The encouraging results comes on the heels of a somewhat disappointing start to the season at Monza, where issues affected a number of Satellite cars leading to unrepresentative results. The good points haul by three of Satellite's cars will serve the team in good stead as they vie for wins and championships in their respective classes.

In Division 1, the #64 Moradness eStars Corvette GTE entry driven by Henri Sinik and Jimi Nisula finished on the podium, the third-place bringing much-needed points to the entry with serious championship aspirations. "I wasn't able to put a solid lap together in qualifying, and we were a bit cautious at the start so lost a few places. We had a lot of work once the race settled into a rhythm to get into a better spot, which we were able to do," said Nisula, who was measured speaking about the result. "We fought throughout the race and managed to narrow the gap to the leader(s), getting as high as second place, but about 15 minutes before the end of the race, we had an unfortunate crash with a stationary LMP2 which required some repair. We dropped from second to third because of that, so the result could've been a little better, but it was still really good for us and we got a lot of valuable points."

Also in Division 1, the #339 Oreca LMP2 driven by Ryan Nash, Marco Slanzi, and Nello Pastorino just missed out on the top-10, finishing in 11th. "The race went pretty smoothly; no major incidents and avoided any penalties to come home just outside the top ten," said Nash. "We expected to be a bit quicker however its a good start after the lineup shakeups with the new additions to the team and being newer to the LMP2, so we'll definitely be aiming to come back stronger for Road America with some more time to prepare with the car."

Over in Division 2, Lorenzo De Ciutiis and Riccardo Tarlazzi qualified the #23 Cadillac DPi in pole position, controlling a large portion of the race from the lead, but which culminated in a second-place finish after a pair of costly issues. "The Spa race was a real surprise," said De Ciutiis, part of the group of recent additions to Satellite Racing. "Getting pole position in my first race for this team in a completely new class I never expected but is very welcome! Unluckily I had contact with a car while leading only about two laps before a driver swap to put Riccardo into the car, and the repair from the contact put us about a minute behind the leader. Riccardo drove awesome, recovering all the gap back and we were back in the lead by the time he handed the car back over to me." A technical issue with the pitspeed limiter caused a penalty at the last stop, costing the entry a win; a bittersweet result, but nevertheless a surprise for the new entry and bringing high hopes heading into the next round at Road America. "I want to put this car where it belongs which means Division 1," added De Ciutiis. "Its a big task to commit to but I am confident we can move up and stay there."

Final Finishing Order:

8 Hours of Spa Broadcast Link

2021 VEC Schedule:

Round 1

6 Hours of Monza

October 9, 2021

Round 2

8 Hours of Spa

November 6, 2021

Round 3

8 Hours of Road America

January 8, 2022

Round 4

1000 Miles of Sebring

March 12, 2022

Round 5

6 Hours of Nurburgring

April 9, 2022

Round 6

24 Hours of Le Mans

June 4, 2022

Be sure to follow Satellite Racing throughout the Virtual Endurance Championship season by watching the race broadcasts and by reading our race recaps!

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