Lengthy safety car intervention shapes early hours of Total 24 Hours of Spa

30 July 2016

After three hours in the 69th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the #6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix was on top of the leaderboard. The race was run under safety car for over 70 minutes, after a Porsche and Ferrari collided at the beginning of the Kemmel Straight. 

After the first series of pitstops Mirko Bortolotti was still leading the race in the #63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, but the Italian was under serious pressure of the Audis of Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor. The reigning Blancpain GT Series champion almost got his #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 in front, but the Dutchman preferred not to take any risks in the heavy traffic.

That entertaining three-way fight was interrupted by the second Full Course Yellow-period of the race, caused by a heavy crash of the #77 Attempto Racing Porsche and the #53 AF Corse Ferrari. Kevin Estre - coming out of pitlane - hit the side of the Motoaki Ishikawa's car and both spun into the guardrails. That caused quite a bit of damage, and the necessary repairs caused the first Safety Car-intervention, which would last some seventy minutes.

A good opportunity to take a pit stop - or even two - which meant that the leaderboard changed quite frequently. At the three-hour mark it was the #6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix that was leading, with Markus Winkelhock at the wheel. Eleven seconds down the road was the #26 Saintéloc Racing Audi, followed closely by the #19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini. Leader in the Pro-Am Cup (and 10th overall) was the #11 Kessel Racing Ferrari , while the Am Cup was led by the #30 Team Parker Racing Bentley.

The #6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix was obviously also leading the fight for the Intercontinental GT Challenge points, with the #7 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental in second and the #28 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 in third.