The #99 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3 of Alexander Sims, Maxime Martin and Philipp Eng have taken a dominant victory at the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa, continuing unflustered in a very wet final hour.
As the last hour got underway the BMW was left effectively unchallenged as the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 was given a drive-through penalty with 45 minutes left on the clock because of a Full Course Yellow Infringement.
With Sims left effectively unchallenged at the lead of the race, he took no chances when a heavy rain shower rolled it’s way through and flooded the run from Stavelot all the way round to Les Combes as both he and Andy Soucek pitted. He came out in the lead but Soucek slipped down to fifth after he was held for longer than needed in the pits.
Getting ahead of him was Maxi Gotz in the HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3, Felix Rosenqvist in the Team AKKA ASP Mercedes and Laurens Vanthoor in the Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS who pitted a lap later for their wet tyres.
That strategy almost caught out Gotz though as he aquaplaned straight on at the Bus Stop before limping into the pits. Coming off worse though was the #57 Black Falcon Mercedes stopped on the run-off at the Bus Stop which was t-boned by a Lamborghini which had lost control going into the corner.
The chaos led to a full course yellow, and by the time it was lifted with just 14 minutes to go Gotz was given a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release at his last pitstop to relegate him down to fifth at the finish.
That meant Rosenqvist finished second ahead of a hard-charging Laurens Vanthoor who claimed a well deserved third place after all the issues that car had suffered last night. Fourth went to Andy Soucek after last hour disappointment for the Crewe-based team.
Pro-Am Cup honours went to Maxime Jouse and the IMSA Performance Porsche which dominated the last quarter of the race, not allowing anyone to get near them. Second went to Franck Perera and the ISR Racing Audi with Barwell Motorsport finishing third in the Demon Tweeks liveried Lamborghini.
The Am Cup went to Kessel Racing and Liam Talbot who had a clear run to the end after issues in hour 22 for the AF Corse Ferrari.