The second and third hours of the 2014 Total 24 Hours of Spa were unhappy ones for several teams as a succession of big accidents kept the amount of green flag racing to a minimum.
The second hour did begin under the green flag, Markus Winkelhock picking up where Laurens Vanthoor had left in the #1 car, picking up the lead after Maxime Martin pitted the #66 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS to complete the sequence of scheduled pitstops.
Christopher Mies, one of the few drivers pulling a double stint to start the race moved the #3 Audi into second, securing a momentary one-two for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT when he passed the Sainteloc Audi shortly after the pitstops.
At that point the race turned sour.
Vyacheslav Maleev was the first to suffer a big accident, taking too much kerb as he went uphill through Eau Rouge. With his SMP Racing/Russian Bears Ferrari unbalanced he overcorrected, slamming into the tyre wall on the inside of the Radillion left hander. Maleev thankfully walked away, but the safety car was scrambled as the #100 entry was recovered from the middle of the track were it had come to rest.
What came next set the tone for the next few hours. Before more cars had even crossed the start line to start their first lap back to green racing, Tim Mullen crashed the #101 Von Ryan Racing McLaren just before Blanchimont, the accident all by destroying the machine and prompting an immediate safety car. That there was no immediate news of Mullen’s condition was concerning, however, as the end of third hour came near there was confirmation that he was conscious and being taken to a local hospital for “precautionary checks”.
The pair of lengthy safety cars shuffled the order, Augusto Farfus briefly taking the lead in the #66 Marc VDS BMW before he too pitted, leaving the three Belgian Audi Club R8 LMS ultra first, second and third. When the green flag was put in the air once more it took only minutes for the safety car to be needed once more. The #15 Boutsen Ginion McLaren crashed at Radillion, the #85 HTP Mercedes spinning, harmlessly, in the immediate aftermath. Further down the hill, in a separate incident Jorg Mueller, having taken over the #66, misjudged his braking for La Source amid a pack of traffic, rear ending the #53 AF Corse Ferrari.
Both cars received damage, Mueller limping the car back with heavy right-front damage. Adding insult to injury the incident was under investigation at the end of the third hour.
The #15, which Karim Ojjeh was able to walk away was cleared away and the race restarted, only for the outside of Radillion to – again – be the site of an accident. This time it was a multi-car affair, the field bunched together behind the safety car running on cold tyres.
Andrew Danyliw spun the AF Corse #50 that Alessandro Pier Guid had started from second and as the field behind scattered in avoidance the Beechdean AMR Aston, Gentlemen Trophy GT Corse by Rinaldi Ferrari, and the #16 McLaren, the second of the Boutsen Ginion entries in the race, were all caught up in the carnage either spinning into the tyre wall or, in the case of the Aston driven by Andrew Howard, collecting the already spinning Danyliw, ripping the left front off the #107 entry.
Also involved was the #85 HTP Mercedes, Xavier Maassen able to haul the car, missing the entire front-right, as far as Pif Paf before retiring the machine that had run third in the first hour of the race.
As the third hour of the race drew to a close the race remained under safety car following the accident, the order having been shuffled once more as teams took advantage of the safety car to make pitstops.
Total 24 Hours of Spa class standings after 3 hours:
1 – #77 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS (Luhr/Palttala/Werner)
2 – #26 Sainteloc Racing (Guilvert/Ortelli/Sandstrom)
3 – #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Rast/Vanthoor/Winkelhock)
4 – #3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Mies/Nash/Stippler)
5 – #84 HTP Motorsport (Primat/Schneider/Verdonck)
1 – #90 Scuderia Villoba Corse (Castellacci/Gai/Montermini/Rizzoli)
2 – #12 TDS Racing (Catsburg/Hassid/Klingman/Thiriet)
3 – #79 Ecurie Ecosse (Bryant/McCaig/Sims/Smith)
1 – #51 AF Corse (Guedes/Mann/Mezard/Talkanista)
2 – #42 Sport Garage (Bontempelli/Broniszewki/Frezza/Piccini)
3 – #350 Duqueine Engineering (Colancon/Duqueine/Gorini/Lanchere