Saturday, 9 October 2010

Spa Part 1

August Bank Holiday the Pieman and Giorgio Dragonslayer headed by coach to the tropical rain forest of Spa for 2010 Formula 1 Grand Prix. Happy days, bring on the pies. A long leg numbing journey followed before our arrival at the hotel on the outskirts of Brussels, our home for three nights. It is the noisest and quietest hotel being next to Brussels International Airport and Brussels grand cemetery.

After a Laffe or two or three our spirits are  revived and the search for Pie begins. Unfortunately we have to settle for a Calzone (Looks like a pasty) in the land of waffles, fries and strong beer. Qualifying day arrives with blue skies all around. As we travel early morning the hills and woods of the ardennes appear above the flat lands of Belgium shrouded in mist, cloud and Raiiiinnnnnnnnn!!!!!! The circuit is fantastic from the the first view as we enter the circuit at les combes with the vista of the circuit spread out below carved out of the rain soaked trees and hills of the Ardennes forest.

Our first stop is the chemical toilets. Better than Monza but breath through your mouth, not your nose and don't look down!! Next stop the waffle stand for the slightly fragile dragonslayer who needs a sugar boost. It is so hilly and steep the TV pictures just do not convey. We head slowly down the hill to the top of eau rouge and claim a spot to watch the 3rd practice session.

The thundering noise which reverberates against your chest and your internal organs, the smell of burnt fuel, the speed as they fly up and over eau rouge its intoxicating. At the end of the day your foot/muscles sore, sweat soaked,  rain soaked, sun burnt and leg cramped but who cares after watching formula 1 cars in the flesh.

Practice finishes and we wander on through to the F1 village and admire the view of Eau rouge from the bottom up. Wow tarmac and sky is all you see as you look up your driving blind its that steep!! We wander further checking out potential spots for race day as the crowds will be bigger than today and finding/keeping a  spot will be of utmost importance tomorrow. The crowd is a much more cosmopolitan group than Monza with a strong German, French, Polish, Scandinavian, British and of course those quiet self effacing Dutchmen.

Eventually we cross underneath the track and head through the trees getting absolutely soaked to the downhill sweep of  Pouhon Corner which is a great view with the cars coming down from Les Combes and off up through the gears to Campus. Stamina issues set in and so we stop here ahead of the practice for GP2 / Porsche Supercup cars. Rations are needed and Mrs Piemans red cross parcel is attacked with relish. Also attacked with relish are the ubiquitous Belgium fries available by the bucketload all around the circuit, with a mustard flavoured mayonnaise on top, orange in colour!!!!

Qualifying starts, is affected by the rain with Petrov coming off on the first out lap before even recording a time!! Idiot! Although it did give us the opportunity to see his damaged car close up as they carry it back to the pit on truck by us. Webber, Hamilton and Kubica is how qualifying finishes.The sun is shining and we are getting burnt, crazy weather!

We carry on walking around the circuit with Porsche/Gp2 races practice taking place and sussing out our spot for the race day. We've settled on the area were going to aim for on race day and so begin the long climb/walk back to our coach and the journey back to Brussels.

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