Endurance RacingGT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup

AKKA ASP Leads Due to Pitstops After Eight Hours

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Mercedes-AMG Motorspor
Credit: Mercedes-AMG

Eight hours into the 2017 Total Spa 24 Hours and as darkness falls, it was the #90 Akka ASP Mercedes of Raffaele Marciello leading the way due to a different pitstop strategy of the established frontrunners.

The Mercedes lead the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Mirko Bortolotti by five seconds with the #2 WRT Audi of Frédéric Vervisch lying third.

In fourth place was the effective leader when all the stops cycle out, the #55 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 of James Calado, which is also the fastest car on track.

In Pro-Am it was a Black Falcon Racing 1-2 with the #16 Mercedes leading team-mate #18 by a lap, with the #97 Aston Martin lying third, 15 seconds behind the second Mercedes.

The fifth hour was dominated by a lengthy Full Course Yellow when the #6 WRT Audi pulled up at the bus stop chicane.

Despite WRT mechanics shouting instructions to Stéphane Richelmi through the fence, the car would not restart and was put on the back of a flatbed

WRT took advantage of the safety car period by bringing in the #1 and #2 cars and leapfrogging them up the order resulting in Christopher Mies in the #2 and Antonio Garcia in the #1 car just outside the podium.

That podium place was held by Jimmy Eriksson in the #84 HTP Mercedes AMG GT but the car’s race ended dramatically at Eau Rogue in hour seven.

Eriksson took too much curb on entry into Eau Rogue and clouted the barriers heavily, coming to a stop at Radion. Thankfully, like the earlier incident with Pasin Lathouras, Eriksson walked away from the accident unaided.

Despite all of the different pit strategies, when all of the stops had cycled through, it was the #55 Ferrari and the #63 Lamborghini who occupied the top two places as they had all race long.

When the safety finally came in, the Kasperky Ferrari, driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, only held a narrow 3.5 second lead over Christian Engelhart in the #63 Lamborghini.

Yet as the night began to fall the Ferrari pulled away and secured maximum points at the six hour mark, ahead of Engelhart and Eriksson.

Garcia’s charge was blunted when he received a drive-thru penalty for dis-respecting track limits, but #2 continued to show good pace in the hands of Connor De Phillippi and then Vervisch.

In AM the #888 Kessel Racing Ferrari of David Perel leads the  category by two laps from the #488 Rinaldi Ferrari of Rino Mastronardi.

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