2012 Spa 24 Hours: Update After 18 Hours

Despite a puncture Piccini continues to lead for Team Phoenix in the #16 (Photo Credit: Dan Bathie/l'endurance)

Despite losing time with a left-rear puncture that briefly saw the lead change hands in favour of Stephane Ortelli and the #1 Team WRT car Andrea Piccini ended the eighteenth hour of the 2012 Total Spa 24 Hours in the lead with the #16 Audi Sport Team Phoenix car.

Christopher Haase – having replaced Ortelli in the #1 Audi – run second, Marco Bononomi completing and Audi 1-2-3 as the race entered its final quarter. For Vita4One Racing Frank Kechele was the best non-Audi in fourth heading Markus Palttala in the top five. Palttala and the Marc VDS Racing car losing track position after a slow pitstop.

Inching up the order – in this case taking advantage of a lengthy stop due to suspension issues for the Prospeed Competition #75 – are the twin Ferrari 458 Italia of AF Corse, moving up in lock step  to sixth and seventh to head Pro-Am with the #51 of Daniel Brown, Gaetano Ardagna, Giuseppe Ciro and Toni Vilander leading the way. The much fancied, but similarly much delayed #6 Audi has climbed back into the top ten, running in eighth overall, ahead of Alvaro Parente's Von Ryan Racing McLaren, third in Pro-Am.

In the Gentlemen Trophy First Motorsport's team has moved a lap into the clear against the Dodge Viper run by Bull Fight Racing, the leading Porsche now lurking just outside the top 20 waiting for the next top team to hit problems.

Dropping out of the top 20 in the eighteenth hour was the #19 Black Falcon Mercedes SLS and #89 GRP Racing Aston Martin Vantage. Kenneth Heyer slowed to a crawl in the Mercedes eventually making it back to the pitlane. More spectacularly, the Aston lot a front-left wheel  in the braking zone for the Bus Stop, the wheel bouncing its way down the track as the driver brought the wounded car into the pits.