Ben Tuck charges from back of the grid to podium finish

Ben Tuck at Spa. PNL-170524-123026002
Ben Tuck at Spa. PNL-170524-123026002

Ben Tuck roared from the back of the grid to a podium finish at the famous Spa-Francorchamps racing circuit in Belgium.

In a repeat of his last outing to Spa in 2015, the Sandy racer again demonstrated his affinity with the iconic Formula 1 circuit by driving a spectacular charge through the entire field after a near catastrophic crash on Saturday.

Amid the changeable weather at the beautiful track in the hilly Ardennes forest, the weekend’s problems started in qualifying. Ben’s team, PT Sports Cars had prepared his #62 Caterham Supersport to perfection and Ben posted a qualifying time 0.4 seconds quicker than anybody else.

However, due to an, as yet unexplained problem, he was only credited with his second fastest time, making him 5th.

In a departure from the normal format, the race was run with two classes starting on the same grid with the faster Caterham 420R class lined up in front of the Supersport grid. This effectively resulted in a grid slot some 15 rows back from the lights and directly in the middle of over 50 cars in the headlong rush to the hairpin corner at turn one.

Ben got away cleanly, however the inevitable collisions occurred at the first corner resulting in near stationary cars on the track when Ben arrived. The resulting impact caused massive damage and resulted in Ben having to retire.

The PT Sports Cars pit crew worked into the night to rebuild the battered car and by Sunday morning it was ready to go.

Ben lined up in 23rd and last place but put in a mesmerising performance, carving his way through the field and reaching the leading pack just two laps later.

Six more laps saw him take the lead of the race triggering a fierce battle amongst the leading five. After a confusing final few minutes when the officials showed the last lap board one lap early, Ben eventually crossed the line in second, having taken the Spa Caterham Supersport lap record.

He said: “I’m so happy to take that result to thank the team and my race engineer and mechanics for the huge amount of effort what went into rebuilding the car.

“When things like that (the qualifying time and subsequent damage) happen, you have a choice – dwell on it and be defeated by it, or learn and come back stronger.

“I was confident I had the right pace to chase the top five from the back. The car was fairly good after all that work but I know we have more pace in it to come.”

Ben next races back in the UK at Brands Hatch on June 3 and 4.