Garage 59 maintains Blancpain Championship lead despite troubles

Blancpain GT Series leaders Garage 59 endured a difficult weekend at the Total Spa 24 Hours but managed to retain their championship lead.

Garage 59 entered three McLaren 650S GT3s with the regular #58 and #59 cars joined by the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Team-liveried #60.

Championship leader Rob Bell, along with regular endurance partners Shane Van Gisbergen and Côme Ledogar, finished a disappointing 32nd overall.

The team looked to set for another successful weekend, especially when Van Gisbergen secured provisional pole in qualifying.

Yet the weekend turned sour when the car stopped in Superpole and things got worse following heavy contact with a backmarker during the night.

Despite the poor result, the team still retained the championship lead in Endurance and overall GT Series.

The new #60 entry of Bruno Senna, Duncan Tappy and ‘Pipo’ Derani race played out much the same as it’s teammate.

It too was involved in collisions with backmarkers which required several trips to the pits and came home in 40th place.

The #59 McLaren, consisting of Spa debutantes Struan Moore, Andrew Watson and Alex Fontana, had less luck than its sister cars.

Despite a competitive showing by the youngsters, it retired in the early hours in the morning due to a broken steering rack, having been delayed by contact and a puncture.

Speaking after the race, Moore commented: “We felt really good coming into the weekend so to retire from the race really hurts. However the pace and performance we showed is something to be happy about.”

Bell will take his Blancpain GT Series lead to the next Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup round at Budapest on the 26-28th August.

Along with Van Gisbergan and Ledogar, his hopes to wrap up the Endurance series at the final round at the Nurburgring on the 17th/18th September.