The fifteenth hour of the 2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa included the end of the period of green flag racing that stretched way back into the early hours of Saturday evening.
It was the Mercedes SLS of British team Prec-Spark driven by Godfrey Jones that stopped on the Kemmel Straight after losing a wheel that caused just the third safety car of the race.
A few hours earlier the challenge of Marc VDS Racing to win the race. After mechanical problems had floored both the #14 and #4 teams it was the turn of the #3 car to pull off into retirement while running second behind the Manthey Racing Porsche that hand flanked the BMWs through the race to that point.
That left only the Manthey car and the HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS on the lead lap, with the Mercedes taking the lead when they and the Porsche pitted on the same lap, the Porsche team changing the brake pads. The Mercedes – in the hands of Bernd Schneider – would pit under the safety car but would only drop to a temporary second place having the lead back when Marc Lieb pitted under the green flag to hand over to Richard Lietz.
Third at the end of the hour – improbably given their lack of pace for much of the weekend – was the #2 Belgian Audi Club WRT R8 LMS ultra. They had inherited the position from Kessel Racings #44 entry when they followed the leading Mercedes into the pits, plotting their way to end the hour fourth overall. The Kessel squad – points leaders chasing crucial points now given the retirement of all the Marc VDS cars – had picked up the position when Klaus Graf span into the tyres at Le s Combes, ending a strong run by the ROWE Racing outfit.
Vita4One Racings #26 holds fifth overall as the top seven positions afre all filled by Pro Cup entries.
SMP Racing hold a 1-2 in Pro-Am, the #70 leading the sister #71 Ferrari with AF Corse teammate teams #59 and #50 their nearest challengers with all three of the top three cars on the same lap.
As they have done for some time SOFREV ASP led Gentlemens’ Trophy, with a two lap advantage over The Sport Garage #52 team second in the class.
2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa class standings after 15 hours:
1 – #84 HTP Motorsport – Buhk/Gotz/Schnieder
2 – #150 – Manthey Racing – Lieb/Lietz/Pilet
3 – #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT – Lotterer/Mies/Stippler
1 – #70 SMP Racing – Bobbi/Basov/Pier Guidi/Skryabin
2 – #71 SMP Racing – Mediani/Ladygin/Salo/Shaitar
3 – #50 AF Corse – Bertolini/Cioci/Hommerson/Machiels
1 – #20 – SOFREV ASP – Beaubelique/Blanchemain/Bouvy/Gouselard
2 – #52 – Sport Garage – Gorini/Lemeret/Prignaud
3 – #111 – Kessel Racing – Andreasi/Ciro/Paladino/Perez