Raffaele Marciello and Felipe Fraga have shared driving duties and haven’t not put a wheel wrong for ten hours. That resulted in a good lead over the #63 Orange1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini. The crew has been part of the front runners since the start of the race, however the team switched to an alternative strategy after trying to double stint the tyres just after the 8-hour mark. That did not work out as planned, so Dennis Lind had to cut short one of his driving stints.
The #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado passed the #98 ROWE Racing Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor for third just before the 10-hour mark. The #54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche of Matteo Cairoli, on the same strategy as the #63 Lamborghini, at the time was running in fifth.
The lead in Silver Cup was in the hands of the #5 HRT Mercedes-AMG, now driven by Gabriele Piana. It held a small lead over the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. Pro-Am is still led by the other Barwell machine, the #77. In the Am Cup the leaders of the #129 Raton Racing Lamborghini hit trouble, handing over the lead to the #108 CMR Bentley, with Clément Mateu at the wheel.
The final hours before the twelve hour mark turned into a nightmare for long-time leader #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP. Firstly it lost the lead when James Calado passed Felipe Fraga at Combes then fifteen minutes later the #88 dropped down to fourth, when twenty seconds were lost during a pit stop. Felipe Fraga left the pitlane a few of seconds behind the #98 ROWE Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor and there was still more to come! An explosion happened at the front of the Mercedes-AMG due to the car losing the front left wheel. Fraga managed to bring the car back to pitlane, but the damage proved too important to be able to continue.
New leaders Marco Mapelli and Alessandro Pier Guidi were driving absolutely flat out like it was a 24-minute sprint race. The former set a new lap record (2:18.146s), but the Ferrari driver overtook his countryman once, unfortunately by cutting the final chicane. Pier Guidi rightfully gave the position back, only to stay under the rear wing of the Lamborghini until the latter entered pitlane for a scheduled pitstop.
Being on a different strategy Pier Guidi continued for half an hour longer, and after his scheduled pitstop, he emerged eight seconds ahead of the Lamborghini in the hands of Andrea Caldarelli. At the halfway point, Pier Guidi had managed to extend his lead to 13 seconds.
Soon after the halfway mark, the rain over the Spa-Francorchamps increased. The leading trio immediately pitted to change to rain tyres, which wiped out any strategy calls between the leading #51 AF Corse and the #63 Lamborghini in second place. Some of the drivers inside the top 10 took a gamble by staying on slicks. That was the case for Maxime Soulet in the #3 K-Pax Racing Bentley, Renger van der Zande driving the #29 Team Honda Racing NSX and Franck Perera in the #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini. This proved to be the wrong call however and after three laps they abandoned their plans. The trio losing a massive amount of time per lap when doing this..
With eleven hours to go a Full Course Yellow was called, after the entry to the endurance pitlane was blocked. With that being followed by a safety car, several of the teams in the top 10 used the opportunity to make their mandatory Technical Pit Stop. That stop must have a length of at least four minutes from pit-in to pit-out, and must be taken after the start of the 12th hour and before the end of the 22nd hour.
Importantly the leading #51 AF Corse Ferrari did not take that Technical Pit Stop under the Safety Car, effectively wiping out their advantage on the cars that did. Those included the #63 Lamborghini and the #98 ROWE Racing Porsche, but also the #4 Mercedes-AMG HRT, #40 GPX Racing Porsche, #3 K-Pax Racing Bentley and #29 Team Honda Racing.
When the lights went green again, Nicklas Nielsen, who had taken over from Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari, did his utmost best to increase the gap to the #63 Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli. Nielsen was helped by both Mathieu Jaminet (#12 GPX Racing Porsche) and the #66 Audi Sport Team Attempto of Patric Niederhauser, who passed the Lamborghini on their way to virtual podium finishing positions. Neither of them had taken a Technical Pit Stop during the safety car period though.
As we stand the #51 AF Corse has a narrow 3-second lead over the #12 GPX Racing Porsche, with the #98 ROWE Racing Porsche a further 30 seconds down the road. In Silver Cup the #5 HRT Mercedes-AMG extended its advantage on the #78 Barwell Motorsport, with the #93 Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari increasing its advantage in Pro-Am. The #108 CMR Bentley is still the best of the remaining Am Cup runners.