Christian Lavieille has written some nice pages in the annals of the 24h de Liège. A winner four times (1991, 1998, 2001, 2002), he is the record holder for the number of victories. Twenty years after his last triumph, he is passing on the baton and giving tips on the key elements of the race to participants of the 2022 edition.

First and foremost, physical condition. “An endurance event lasting 24 hours is always exhausting but at Spa, it is even harder”, explains the French native, someone who is well used to the particularities of the Belgian track. “It’s a very demanding circuit physically where you are often at full throttle with very few places to take a breath”. Therefore, preparation cannot be neglected.

Number two: experience. This “very demanding” circuit is “undoubtedly the most beautiful in the world, really pleasant in terms of driving”, says the quadruple winner. “But it is hard to learn, therefore you must do as many laps as possible at the test runs in order to get your references.” Hence his interest in training oneself beforehand and in benefitting to the maximum of each run during the week of the event.

Number three, and dreaded is: lighting. “You must have powerful and well-regulated lighting for night driving as it is very dark in the forest at the end of the circuit. And even though the recent maintenance works have probably improved nocturnal visibility, it is imperative that you can see the track well in order not to miss the apex in the corners that are taken at over 200 km/hr.”

The fourth, a more random but often decisive element: the weather. In the event of showers, you must be able to adapt quickly to changes in conditions. These may not be the same depending on the place in which you are: “In Spa you must always be vigilant and keep an eye on the clouds as it might rain at ‘Stavelot’ but not at ‘La Source’! warns Lavieille.

Number five and completely unmissable in endurance: strategy. Among the drivers but also vis-à-vis the mechanics. It is quite significant that the Belgian track is not the shortest one in the championship. “You can’t make any errors on the refuelling, because if you run out of petrol at ‘Combes’, it will take you a while to get back to the pits.”

In summary, the  24H Spa EWC Motos promises to be lovely, and spectacular but demanding and high stakes for the drivers. “But for all these reasons victory there is very sweet and you remember it for a long time!”

Source : Crédit photo : Guy Thonus
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