24 Hours of SpaGT World Challenge

2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa – Hours 22&23: BMW holds the lead going into the final hour

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As with most of the other reports from the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa, the #99 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 of Maxime Martin continued to hold a strong lead thanks to Andy Soucek’s Bentley needing an unscheduled pitstop because of a right-rear puncture.

Early in the 22nd hour, the main drama was actually at the front of the Am Cup field as Rino Mastronardi picked up a rear puncture in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari which went on to destroy the right-rear quarter of the car because of the flailing carcass on the rim.

Having a different issue, but losing a podium place, was the #28 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS of Nico Muller which was running in third place until a drive-through penalty for a pit infringement saw them sacrifice that place to the #86 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3 of Maxi Gotz.

The fact that Gotz got into third was testament to the pace of that car because of their five minute penalty served on the first lap of the race on Saturday afternoon.

Also displaying great pace was once again the IMSA Performance Porsche, this time driven by Raymond Narac who – as well as leading the Pro-Am Cup – was running eighth overall as a full course yellow for debris on the run to the Bus Stop ended the 23rd hour of the race.

In the Am Cup Liam Talbot found himself in the lead in the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari thanks to the issues for AF Corse machine which did manage to get itself back up to second in class after a brief stop in the pits.

However, as the 23rd hour was halfway through there was a big nightmare for Soucek’s Bentley Team M-Sport machine which had to pit from second place with a deflating right-rear tyre. The stop was relatively quick but because of the length of this double-long pit lane, he lost even more time to the #99 BMW allowing it to run relatively undisturbed going into the final hour of the 68th running of the Spa 24 Hours.

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