2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa: Hour 9 Update


2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa (Credit: Tom Loomes Photogarphy)

A heroic pair of stints from Maxime Martin cut the lead enjoyed by the ROWE Racing Mercedes crew at the front of the 2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa to just seven seconds as the ninth hour of the race drew to a close.

With 17 hours to go in the race Daniel Juncadella in the #99 SLS AMG GT3 had a lead of almost a lap when Martin in the #45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS car picked up second place following the seventh safety car period of the race.

That was caused by Andy Meyrick riding through a frightening looking off in the #7 Bentley Continental GT3. The car swerved right under braking for Les Combes, narrowly missing a car as it sliced across the grass at the apex. Meyrick then careened across the still wet grass, back across the track – only just avoiding swiping another car as he did so – before nosing heavily into the Armco.

Only 14 minutes of green flag running followed before the safety car was scrambled again to allow for clean up following contact between the #21 Black Falcon Mercedes of Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal and #19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan of Andrew Palmer. Both drivers were able to bring their wounded charges to the pits, Palmer returning after struggling through the final sector of the lap in nearly five minutes.

When the safety car was brought back into the pits Martin was 52 seconds off the lead, but over the next 45 minutes the gap was cut to 40 seconds before Martin pitted, staying in the car to start at least a double stint. Seven minutes later the Mercedes was into the pits, shadowed by the #46 – the sister car to Martin’s charging entry – which pitted from third.

Once the #99 returned to the track the lead was cut in half, Martin just 20 seconds behind and continuing to gain, reaching the end of the ninth hour only eight seconds in arrears. The #58 Von Ryan Racing McLaren was third overall ahead of the #8, the sole surviving M-Sport Bentley after the team confirmed the damage done in Meyrick’s off was terminal, and the #46 Marc VDS Z4 GT3.

In 11th overall the #47 AF Corse Ferrari occupied the lead of the Pro Am Cup class, 38 seconds ahead of its stable mate – the #51 – with Ecurie Ecosse third in class.

Team Parker Racing continue to lead the Am Cup, holding AF Corse’s #50 at bay in the class standings.

Total 24 Hours of Spa overall standings after 9 hours:
1 – #99 ROWE Racing – Bastian/Dusseldorp/Juncadella
2 – #45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Farfus/Martin/Werner
3 – #58 Von Ryan Racing – Bell/Estre/van Gisbergen
4 – #8 Bentley Team M-Sport – Buhk/Soucek/Soulet
5 – #46 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Catsburg/Luhr/Palttala

Pro Cup standings after 9 hours:
1 – #99 ROWE Racing – Bastian/Dusseldorp/Juncadella
2 – #45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Farfus/Martin/Werner
3 – #58 Von Ryan Racing – Bell/Estre/van Gisbergen

Pro Am Cup standings after 9 hours:
1 – #47 AF Corse – Bruni/Lathouras/Lemeret/Pier Guidi
2 – #51 AF Corse – Cameron/Griffin/Guedes/Rigon
3 – #79 Ecurie Ecosse – Bryant/McCaig/Modell/Sims

Am Cup standings after 9 hours:
1 – #24 Team Parker Racing – Loggie/MacLeod/Simonsen/Westwood
2 – #50 AF Corse – Aguas/Kondakov/Moiseev/Ragazzi
3 – #42 Sport Garage – Beroujon/Corten/Guillot/Samon