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WEC Spa-Francorchamps

Cadillac Eau Rouge WEC shunt was "almost out of a movie scene"

Renger van der Zande has described the crash that put the #3 Cadillac out of the Spa round of the World Endurance Championship as “almost out of a movie scene”.

#3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Sebastien Bourdais, Renger Van Der Zande

Having made the decision to start the race on slick tyres on a damp track, van der Zande was running a strong second behind the race-leading #7 Toyota when he lost control of the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R on the approach to the Eau Rouge/Raidillon complex in the second hour of the race.

With the two lapped Ferrari LMH cars running close behind him, van der Zande’s Cadillac went off the track and spun into the barriers, before bouncing back and coming to a rest on the tarmac run-off.

The impact left the right-hand side of the car with significant damage, leaving the door wide open and exposing the entire engine bay.

While the incident looked severe on camera and left some spectators visibly concerned, van der Zande was able to walk away from the accident unaided and was later given the all-clear by doctors after precautionary checks at the medical centre.

The Chip Ganassi-run Cadillac team says it has yet to determine the exact cause of the crash, despite initial suggestions pointing to an issue with the car's power steering.

Explaining the incident from his own point of view, van der Zande said: “The laps time were really good, we were cruising into the race and making sure we were taking care of the car and everything. 

“But something went wrong in Eau Rouge and that was the end of our day. We’re still investigating to figure out what happened, but I am super lucky to be in a safe Cadillac because that was almost out of a movie scene. 

“Jumping out of that car is a miracle and I’m quite proud that Cadillac builds such strong cars. We’ll bounce back and continue our develop as a team.”

 

Cadillac had entered the #3 V.Series.R at Spa as preparations for its return to the Le Mans 24 Hours, where it will be present with three LMDh cars - two via Ganassi and a third via the Action Express Racing team.

Mike O'Gara, director of operations for Chip Ganassi, said it was unfortunate the issue came about just when he was approaching a part of the track that puts a lot of stress on the car as well as the tyres.

“It was an up and down weekend for the #3 car,” he explained. “We came here with a brand-new car, then had some issues that the mechanics worked on all night long. 

“Obviously, it was a very competitive car and our strategy worked well. Renger was doing a great job and [engineer] Danielle [Shepherd] made a great selection on tires. 

“We were just putting in laps, cruising and then unfortunately had a bit of an issue at the most critical, highest-loaded part of the track that ended our day."

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With the #3 car immediately retiring from the race, it was left at Spa with its sole #2 full-season entry shared by Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook.

The trio finished fifth and a lap down in the Hypercar class, behind the two dominant Toyotas as well as the leading entries from Ferrari and Porsche, having started the race on wet tyres.

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