Spa 24 hours crosses halfway point under caution after barrier damage
Sunday 2nd July, 2023 - 12:38pm
Overnight running at the 24 hours of Spa has been heavily interrupted by full course yellow and Safety Car periods.
At the 12-hour mark racing was still under caution due to sizeable repairs to barriers on the Kemmel straight.
The #40 Tresor Orange 1 Audi led cars across the line, under full course yellow, at the halfway point of the 24 hours.
In the Gold Cup the #30 WRT BMW was in second, with Calan Williams on another stint after running a lot of the night, to the #5 Optimum McLaren.
The #85 Grasser Lamborghini led Silver and the 188 Garage 59 McLaren continued to dominate Bronze, still running among the Pro class cars at the top of the overall race.
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Chaz Mostert brought the #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes, which had struggled ahead of the race following Kenny Habul’s crash and a total car rebuild, into the lead of the Pro-Am class with just over 13 hours remaining in the race.
The lengthy full course yellow period meant that the #888 CSA Audi was in the lead as 12 hours ticked over but with the #75 running third in Pro-Am, after its pit lane start.
17:21 the #83 Iron Dames Lamborghini hit the barriers in turn 17, with Doriane Pin at the wheel. The car went deep into the gravel, its lights still on but needing to be towed clear to get out.
The race went to full course yellow then to Safety Car, allowing the Lamborghini to be returned to the pits.
The Iron Dames became the third retirement of the race, before another blow to the team when the #63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini retired less than an hour later.
The #63 had briefly led the race, early on but had suffered a brake issue that saw it return to the garage and only come back out five laps down. Despite the team’s efforts, its running ended just before the clock hit 16 hours remaining.
Three cars were collected in an incident at Bruxelles that saw the #60 VSR Lamborghini spin on its own before making contact with the #38 ST Racing Ferrari and the #4 Riley Mercedes, spreading gravel on the track and prompting a Safety Car.
Shortly after restarting, the Safety Car was brought back out by a crash at Les Combes between the #70 Leipert Lamborghini and the #81 Theeba Mercedes, after the Lamborghini spun and then the Mercedes clipped the front end of it, leaving both badly damaged and returned to the pit lane on flatbed trucks.
The extent of the damage neutralised a lot of the tenth hour of racing.
There was another safety car in hour eleven, after the #4 Riley Mercedes went into gravel, although the car was able to limp back to the pits.
Not long after restarting, the #32 WRT BMW and driver who’d led the race at the six hour point crashed with the #998 Rowe BMW clashed up the Kemmel straight, bringing out another Safety Car with both cars stuck.
The coming together was complicated by a full course yellow called and then cancelled for another stranded car.
Damage to the guardrails, which were visibly corrugated by the impacts, extended the Safety Car period by an estimated hour of repairs.
After very low attrition in the first six hours, considerably more cars’ races ended during the night.
Among 13 exits was the #58 Grasser Lamborghini with Ricky Capo at the wheel. It was running towards the top end of the Silver class, 4th after eight hours but entered the pits not to come back out.