A pass in traffic in the closing minutes of third hour gave Patrick Pilet and Manthey Racing the lead of the 2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The Porsche works driver sprung into the lead as he and Yelmer Buurman worked through lapped cars passing around the outside at Les Combes. Pilet had previously completed a pass on Buurman’s Marc VDS Racing teammate Henri Moser to take second place. The pass on Moser, however, was far more straight forward, Pilet being allowed to take the inside line for the corner at the end of the Kemmel Straight.
The Marc VDS pairing had moved into first and second with Maximilian Gotz’s pitstop from the lead after 5 laps. Gotz and the HTP Motorsport team are running to a different pitstop schedule after stopping under the first safety car of the race. The strategy allows them to lead, but in time pushes them back down the order.
Also enjoying the benefits of the alternative strategy of an earlier stop Marco Cioci also led several laps in the #50 AF Corse Ferrari, running in the Pro-Am Cup class. In the hands of Niek Hommerson the car holds second place in class after three hours. The class is led by the TDS Racing BMW, holding fifth overall.
After starring in the opening, and going onto complete a double stint aboard the Beechdean AMR Vantage Stefan Mucke gave way to Andrew Howard, the lap times going up accordingly, though the ‘Am’ of the team held third in class at the point a normal Blancpain Endurance Series race would have ended.
Another car in the Pro-Am class had caused the second safety car of the race. Jos Menten spun the Blancpain Racing Lamborghini at Radillion, crashing into the tyre wall on the outside of the corner at the top of the hill.
There could easily have been a third safety car in as many hours when Marco Schelp was punted into the wall at the Paul Frere Curve (nee Stavelot) by the Fortec Motorsports Mercedes of Karl Wendlinger. Schelp abandoned the Porsche after it smacked the concrete wall with the left hand side, but it was recovered to a place of safety under local yellows. For his part in the incident Wendlinger was placed under investigation.
Minutes earlier the same corner had become temporary home to the #14 Marc VDS Racing of Jens Klingmann. Running in 8th overall as his stablemates led the way The car cut out under Klingmann and he pulled off to the outside of the corner, narrowly avoiding being collected by one of the SMP Racing Ferraris using all of the track on the exit of the corner and then some.
The Kessel Racing team #111 lead the Gentlemens’ Trophy class by a full lap over the Sport Garage Team.
2013 Total 24 Hours of Spa class standings after three hours:
1 – #150 – Manthey Racing – Lieb/Lietz/Pilet
2 – #3 – Marc VDS Racing – Buurman/Leinders/Martin
3 – #4 Marc VDS Racing – Catsburg/Moser/Palttala
1 – #25 – TDS Racing – Badey/Beche/Hassid/Thiriet
2 – #50 AF Corse – Bertolini/Cioci/Hommerson/Machiels
3 – #99 Beechdean AMR – Adam/Howard/McKenzie/Mucke
1 – #111 – Kessel Racing – Andreasi/Ciro/Paladino/Perez
2 – #52 – Sport Garage – Gorini/Lemeret/Prignaud
3 – #20 – SOFREV ASP – Beaubelique/Blanchemain/Bouvy/Gouselard