· CP Racing, WTM Racing, and Phoenix Racing to take tomorrow’s restart on the lead lap.
· Red Ant Racing leads 992-AM; Van Berlo Motorsport on top in 991.
· 9und11 Racing currently ahead in attrition-hit fight for GTX win.
· Team ACP BMW vs ALFAB Racing McLaren for GT4 honours.
· NOKER racing team holds off Holmgaard Motorsport in TCR.
· Early TCE leader Valluga still holds TCX class lead.
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS (23 April, 2022) – After 5.5 hours of racing, CP Racing leads an incredibly close fight for overall victory at the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, with the top three GT contenders set to take tomorrow’s restart on the lead lap.
Charles Putman drove the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Shane Lewis) over the line to complete 113 laps of the 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps so far, the WTM Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Daniel Keilwitz) finishing just over 70 seconds further back.
WTM Racing, having secured its maiden 24H SERIES outright pole position earlier this weekend, led the majority of the opening stages but fell away from the front pack during a succession of Code 60 caution periods late in the afternoon, opting instead to retain track position and pit under green. This decision allowed CP Racing, which did strategically pit under the purple flags, to leapfrog the Ferrari and take the lead heading into the closing stages. The Mercedes retained its position at the head of the field after its final stop of the day, 45 minutes from the end, but couldn’t quite pull far enough ahead to put the hard-charging Ferrari one lap down.
Both teams will thus take tomorrow’s restart on the same lap.
“It keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat the whole time,” a delighted Charles Putman told radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “Our tactic has always been to stay slow and steady, and look at the big picture. But, man, we ran hard in qualifying, and then figured we’d stick with that approach, and just run hard the whole time. We’re giving it everything we have and I think we’ll start tomorrow maybe not in quite as good a position fuel and tyre-wise as one or two of the other GT3 cars, but we’re still sitting pretty good.”
Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Patryk Krupinski) is set to line up 3rd for tomorrow’s restart, also on the lead lap. The German team briefly fell out of the overall top 20 after making its first pit stop just 35 minutes into the event, but meticulously worked its way back up the order thereafter. The #18 R8 will start alongside fellow Audi runner Car Collection Motorsport (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Max Edelhoff / Tim Müller), the latter having also led outright early on only to lose time in a collision at La Source – for which the #34 R8 LMS EVO II received a 30-second time penalty – with SAINTéLOC Racing.
The Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Jürgen Häring) line-up 5th place on the grid tomorrow, and will be joined on the third row by the JUTA Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO I (#71, Julius Adomavičius / Andrius Gelžinis / Jonas Gelžinis).
Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers) is the highest-placed Porsche 992 GT3 Cup car in 7th place overall, despite breaking its front splitter in a collision with one of two Vortex V8s racing at Spa this weekend. Following an equally impressive run, 991 class leader Van Berlo Motorsport by Bas Koeten Racing (#906, Marcel van Berlo / Bart van Helden / Glenn van Berlo) will line-up 8th with its Porsche 991-II Cup.
The BoDa by Bas Koeten Racing Bentley Continental GT3 (#6, Bob Herber / Mark van der Aa), which started on the GT front row, and SAINTéLOC Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#26, Olivier Esteves / Pierre-Yves Paque / Christian Kelders / Simon Gachet) currently round out the overall top 10.
Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Bert Redant / Yannick Redant) leads a close fight for 992-AM category honours, with the top three in-class ending the day 11th, 12th and 13th on the road. NKPP by HRT Performance (#928, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders) currently holds 2nd ahead of the sister HRT Performance Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#929, Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Jim Rautiainen).
The returning 9und11 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR (#719, Georg Goder / Ralf Oehme / Martin Schlüter) heads GTX ahead of the Vortex V8 Vortex 1.0 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Sebastien Lajoux) after a metronomic run so far. Amazingly, Leipert Motorsport (#710, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Tyler Cooke) rounds out the top three in GTX thus far despite losing over an hour in the pits when the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo suffered alternator failure after just three laps. Fellow Lamborghini runner RD Signs – Siauliai racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius) is unlikely to return to for the second-half of the race after a heavy collision against the Eau Rouge tyre barriers.
A late-race pit stop for long-time class leader ALFAB Racing (#400, Erik Behrens / Daniel Ros) means the retuning McLaren 570S GT4 will restart behind the BMW M4 GT4 of new category leader TEAM ACP - Tangerine Associates BMW M4 GT4 (#421, Catesby Jones / Wim Spinoy / Steven Thomas). Though ABS failure prevented the team from qualifying, the CWS Engineering Ginetta G56 GT4 (#478, Colin White / Freddie Tomlinson / Mike Simpson) currently rounds out the class podium, albeit by just 12s ahead of the Veidec Racing by JJ Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 (#422, Hakan Sari / Recep Sari / Arthur Peters), and despite suffering two separate punctures.
After stretching its fuel loads throughout the day, the NOKER racing team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ (#104, Kestutis Stasionis / Sten-Dorian Piirimägi / Arunas Geciauskas) currently leads both the TCR class and the TCE division overall, having pulled one lap clear of nearest rival, and fellow VW runner, Holmgaard Motorsport (#102, Magnus Holmgaard / Jonas Holmgaard / Roy Edland / Martin Vedel Mortensen).
A contrasting refueling strategy means the Valluga Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS (#205, Bradley Ellis / Leonidas Loucas / Rhea Loucas / Charles Hollings), which had led the division comfortably early on, has since slipped to 3rd overall. The British team nevertheless retains its lead in TCX.
The Audi RS3 LMS TCR of reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion Wolf-Power Racing (#116, Jasmin Preisig / Fabian Danz / Marcus Menden) is the third highest-placed TCR runner, and lies 4th overall in TCE ahead of the RAIL EQUIP BY TOTCAR SPORT CUPRA TCR DSG (#123, Jorge Belloc Diaz / Jorge Belloc Ruiz / Álvaro Rodríguez Sastre) and the GSR Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ (#105, Ernesta Globytė / Rolandas Salys / Mindaugas Liatukas).
Further back, and currently 7th and 9th overall in TCE, the COGEMO / TLRT BMW M2 CS Racing (#255, Sebastien Morales / André Grammatico / Benjamin Lessennes) and the Apo sport Ginetta G55 (#280, Alex Osborne / Paul May / James May) currently round out the TCX class podium, the latter despite suffering intermittent power-loss during the day. Sandwiched between the pair is the Baporo Motorsport CUPRA TCR DSG (#151, Joan Vinyes / Jaume Font).
TCE championship leader BBR (#159, Chariya Nuya / Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Munkong Sathienthirakul) had been in contention for victory early on but suffered brake failure heading into the Bus Stop Chicane. The repaired CUPRA Leon Competición TCR has since returned to the race and currently rounds out the overall top 10 in TCE.
Less fortunate this afternoon was AC Motorsport (#188, Stephane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / Yannick Mettler). The Audi RS3 LMS DSG had been running in the overall TCE top three at the Belgian team’s home event but suffered significant damage after a heavy collision with the Buggyra ZM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#416, Aliyyah Koloc / Yasmeen Koloc / Adam Lacko). Neither entry has returned to the track yet.
The Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS is set to continue tomorrow morning, Sunday 24 April, at 11.20 hrs local time following the overnight intervention. The final 6.5 hours will run uninterrupted until the chequered flag is flown at 17.50 hrs. Live streaming of the race in HD quality will be available on our official website and the 24H SERIES YouTube channel. Regular updates will be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found HERE