GT World Challenge

2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa: Hour 12 Update

3 Mins read

The 2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa reached the half way mark with Stef Dusseldorp in the lead aboard the #99 ROWE Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.

Stephane Ortelli was 10 seconds behind at the wheel of the #2 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS with Drik Werner third in the #45 that had started the tenth hour of the racing right on the heels of the #99 car.

Maxime Martin continued his work, closing in on the SLS ahead and took the lead when the leader pitted. However, when Martin made his own pitstop some twenty minutes later – with Augusto Farfus taking up the reigns of the car – the car returned to the track a minute behind the Mercedes, though still in second place once the round of pitstops had been completed.

The two leaders had found a rhythm of pitting around 20 minutes apart during the a six hour stint without a safety car showing, allowing one of leapfrog the other into the lead.  When the safety car did appear  – to allow recovery of Rui Aguas and the stranded #50 AF Corse Ferrari that had been challenging for the podium in the Am Cup category – both Dusseldorp and Farfus pitted to take advantage of the slowed pace on track to conduct a full service and check on their cars.

Despite the slower pace on track the longer stays in the pits dropped the pair down to third and fourth behind the #2 Audi and the #58 Von Ryan Racing McLaren. Shane van Gisbergen was the next of the leaders to pit , giving up second with 25 minutes to go until the half way mark, when more Blancpain Endurance Championship points would be awarded.

The charge of van Gisbergen his fellow Silverstone winners would then be dented – literally – by the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari at the Bus Stop, the Kiwi immediately pitting the car, starting a slide down the order.

Theirs was not the only incident at the Bus Stop to impact upon the upper reaches of the order. The #45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS team where adjudged at fault in an incident with the #83, Bentley Team HTP’s Pro-Am Cup entry. The penalty would drop then from third to fifth at the time but a combination of scheduled stops and misfortune elsewhere who allow them to move back into third when the half way points were handed out.

There were also penalties for the #5 Audi Sport Team Phoenix team, Nicki Thiim having ignored a controlling red light in the pitlane while the main straight was governed by yellows after the #17 Insight Racing Denmark Ferrari has stopped in the cut through between the F1 and the ‘historic’ pitlane, the race using both, treated a single lane.

Jonny Adam was forced to call out his hunt of third place in the Pro-Am Cup class, officials judging that Daniel Lloyd has exceeded the maximum driver time in the #44 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin.

Elsewhere in Pro-Am the #18 Black Falcon team were knocked out of the race after Bernd Schneider got taken out by a slower driver.

The very start of the tenth hour was slowed by a full course caution after the Sainteloc Audi – previously the highest placed R8 – stopped on the short straight before Pouhon, reportedly after having rounded the previous corner trailing a tail of flames.

The green flag re-appeared following the #50’s recovery with Stephane Ortelli leading in the #2. He was able to keep Dusseldorp at bay for several laps, until the Mercedes driver found his way back into the lead, ten minutes before the half way mark. Ortelli remained in second at the hour mark ahead of the two Marc VDS Beamers with the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport in fifth.

As has become established the pair of AF Corse Ferraris hold the top two places in Pro Am Cup – the #47 leading the #51. The #71 GT Russian Team Mercedes SLS occupied the third spot in the class.

Team Parker Racing continue their dominance of the Am Cup category, leading by two laps over the Attempto Racing Porsche.

Total 24 Hours of Spa overall standings after 12 hours:
1 – #99 ROWE Racing – Bastian/Dusseldorp/Juncadella
2 – #2 Audi Sport Team WRT – Muller/Ortelli/Stippler
3 – #45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Farfus/Martin/Werner
4 – #46 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Catsburg/Luhr/Palttala
5 – #8 Bentley Team M-Sport – Buhk/Soucek/Soulet

Pro Cup standings after 12 hours:
1 – #99 ROWE Racing – Bastian/Dusseldorp/Juncadella
2 – #2 Audi Sport Team WRT – Muller/Ortelli/Stippler
3 – #45 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Farfus/Martin/Werner

Pro Am Cup standings after 12 hours:
1 – #47 AF Corse – Bruni/Lathouras/Lemeret/Pier Guidi
2 – #51 AF Corse – Cameron/Griffin/Guedes/Rigon
3 – #71 GT Russian Team – Asmer/Dontje/Plato/Vasilyev

Am Cup standings after 12 hours:
1 – #24 Team Parker Racing – Loggie/MacLeod/Simonsen/Westwood
2 – #56 Attempto Racing – Haring/Konstantinou/Schmickler/Wlazik
3 – #111 Kessel Racing – Earle/Talbot/Rostan/Zanuttini

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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