2014 Total 24 Hours of Spa: Update After Hour 18

by James Broomhead
2014 Total 24 Hours of Spa (Credit: Brecht Decancq/Brecht Decancq Photography)

A pitstop shortly before the end of the 18th hour saw the lead of the 2014 Total 24 Hours of Spa change once more, Markus Winkelhock retaking the lead in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 LMS ultra.

He made up the position when Lucas Luhr pitted the ##77 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS. In the previous hours the #77 had made a brake disc and pad change that could have changed the complexion of the race for the lead. While the #1 team completed their – admittedly very rapid – brake work under green flag conditions the Marc VDS team thought they had found the perfect opportunity to perform their change when the safety car was called into action.

However, on this occasion it was barely needed. Though Claude-Yves Gosselin had spun his Gentlemen Trophy Sainteloc Racing entered Audi into the wall to the inside of the exit of Blanchimong he was able to limp the car, with heavy front end damage, back to the pits. With nothing, or very little, left to recover from the side of the track the safety car quickly came back in leaving Marc VDS to complete their change under the green flag.

In the stint that followed Luhr was unable to match the pace of Rene Rast in the #1, falling to more than 50 seconds behind the leader before Rast pitted to hand the car over to Winkelhock. The #1’s Team WRT stablemates the #2 and #3 remained third and fourth ahead of the Pro Cup Sainteloc Racing Audi, another to complete a brake pad and disc change when the safety car was scrambled.

For the first time in several hours the Pro-Am Cup is not led by the Scuderia Villoba Corse #90 as they fell back replacing a starter motor in the garage. Taking up the lead of the class was the #52 AF Corse Ferrari featuring Craig Lowndes among its drivers. Behind the #53 AF Corse entry Ecurie Ecosse were promoted to third in class with six hours left to run.

The order at the of the Gentlemen Trophy was shuffled by problems for the #42 Sport Garage Ferrari. Running in second the car came out of the pits but the left-front tyre parted company with rest of the car at the exit of the long pitlane. Admirably the driver brought the car back to the pits on three wheels with minimal damage, but the low speed lap meant the team dropped down the order.

Total 24 Hours of Spa class standings after 18 hours:

Pro Cup

1 – #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Rast/Vanthoor/Winkelhock)

2 – #77 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS (Luhr/Palttala/Werner)

3 – #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer)

4- #3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Mies/Nash/Stippler)

5 – #26 Sainteloc Racing (Guilvert/Ortelli/Sandstrom)

Pro-Am Cup

1 – #52 AF Corse – (Lowndes/Piccini/Rugolo/Wyatt)

2 – #53 AF Corse – (Bertolini/Cioci/Hommerson/Machiels)

3 – #79 Ecurie Ecosse – (Bryant/McCaig/Sims/Smith)

Gentlemen Trophy

1 – #51 AF Corse (Guedes/Mann/Mezard/Talkanista)

2 – #22 Team Parker Racing (Loggie/Matschiski/Rosenblad/Westwood)

3 – #228 Delahaye Racing (Al Azhari/Bordet/Lemeret/Viron)

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