#25 Sainteloc Audi Comes Through for 24 Hours of Spa Victory

by Paul Hensby

The #25 Audi Sport Team Sainteloc entry of Christopher Haase, Jules Gounon and Markus Winkelhock secured victory in the 2017 Total 24 Hours of Spa, coming out on a great battle with the #90 AKKA ASP Mercedes before keeping the #8 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental at arms length.

In the penultimate hour, the #90 Mercedes AMG GT3 held the advantage by as little as 0.7 seconds but a slow final stop, to avoid a penalty for exceeding stint times, saw them drop more than half a minute down on the #25 Audi R8 LMS, and Haase was able to push on until the chequered flag to secure the victory.

The #8 Bentley GT3 had a great final pit stop of its own to move itself ahead of the #90 Mercedes and into fourth, before assuming second position when the #117 KUS Team75 Bernhard Porsche 991 GT3 R and the #2 Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS pitted from first and second.

The #8 attempted to close down the gap on the #25 at he front of the field despite the damage that has been noticeable at the front of the car, and closed to within eight seconds before falling back again due to traffic.

Despite leading for long spells, the #90 was forced to settle for third, with former Ferrari Driver Academy driver Raffaele Marciello bringing the car home, while Michael Christensen brought the #117 Porsche home in fourth ahead of the #2 and #1 Team WRT Audi’s, brought home by Frederic Vervisch and Antonio Garcia respectively.

The #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3, #4 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3, #76 Audi Sport Team ISR Audi R8 LMS and the #98 Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 completed the top ten.

The #16 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 of Marvin Kirchhöfer, Maximilian Götz, Oliver Morley and Miguel Toril took the honours in the Pro-AM class, winning by more than a lap from the #97 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin V12 GT3, while the #961 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 completed the podium.

The #16 was twelfth in the overall standings, with the #7 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 and the #23 Motul Team RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in between them and the #97 Aston Martin at the chequered flag.

The #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of David Perel, Marco Zanuttini, Jacques Duyver and Niki Cadei clinched the AM Cup class victory, finishing twenty-second overall.

The podium was completed by the #488 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 and the #36 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, with Rino Mastronardi and Henry Walkenhorst bringing the respective cars to the chequered flag.

The #16 Black Falcon Mercedes claimed Pro-AM victory – Credit: SRO Motorsports Group

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