24h Spa as it happened - Rowe Racing BMW in lead, lot of action

24h Spa as it happened - Rowe Racing BMW in lead, lot of action

31.07.2022: TOTALENERGIES 24 Hours of Spa Circuit Spa-Francorchamps Sunday, July 31st 2022 ROWE Racing BMW still out front, heartbreak for long-time Pro-Am leader ROWE Racing held the advantage with six hours remaining at Spa-Francorchamps, but ther


TOTALENERGIES 24 Hours of Spa
Circuit Spa-Francorchamps
Sunday, July 31st 2022




ROWE Racing BMW still out front after 18 hours, heartbreak for long-time Pro-Am leader




ROWE Racing held the advantage with six hours remaining at Spa-Francorchamps, but there was heartbreak for the long-time Pro-Am leader. The #98 ROWE BMW moved back to the front as pit stops cycled through, with the #47 KCMG Porsche taking a splash and dash to put it back on sequence.



This set the order as the #98 ahead of the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG, followed by the KCMG machine and the fourth-placed #55 AMG Team GruppeM Mercedes-AMG. This quartet moved on to the same stint sequence during a safety car period caused by the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW sliding into the gravel.



A further safety car period came not long after when the #24 Herberth Motorsport Porsche was tipped into the gravel by the #19 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini. This all but ended the chances of the #24, which had led its class from the sixth hour. Indeed, the car retired soon after the race went green again, pulling over with an errant left-rear wheel.



This promoted Garage 59 back to top spot in Pro-Am, with Miguel Ramos running 22nd overall in the #188 McLaren. The #30 Team WRT Audi retained the Silver Cup lead in 13th overall and with no serious pressure from the similar #99 car from Attempto Racing.



Iron Dames continued to lead in the Gold Cup. Teenage driver Doriane Pin was at the wheel of the #83 Ferrari, circulating in 19th overall and with a two-lap advantage over its closest contender. The two-car Bronze Cup race remained remarkably close, with the #20 SPS Mercedes-AMG heading the #35 Walkenhorst BMW by 12 seconds after 18 hours of racing.




16-Hour Update: ROWE Racing BMW leads, KCMG Porsche retains the advantage

 

 

The #98 ROWE Racing BMW led the TotalEnergies shortly after the 16-hour mark, though the advantage remained with the #47 KCMG Porsche.



The Hong Kong squad's remarkable rise from the very back of the field to a legitimate contender for the win rose through the gears as the morning progressed, with Nick Tandy putting a move on Davide Rigon (#71 Iron Lynx Ferrari) at around 7am. The latter was subsequently pegged back further by a drive-through for an FCY infringement.



The #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari led on the hour but stopped shortly after, moving the #98 BMW to the lead ahead of the #88 AMG Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG. The #98 and the #88 stopped at the same time and swapped positions thanks to a fast turnaround from the Akkodis ASP crew. But once back on-track Nick Yelloly had the legs on Raffaele Marciello, ultimately pressuring the Swiss into a mistake that put the BMW back in front.



As such the ROWE car led from the Akkodis entry as the 17th hour progressed, while the KCMG Porsche ran third. The latter is set to cycle back into P1 when the front two stop midway through the hour.



The #30 Team WRT Audi led the way in the Silver Cup (14th overall) after the #4 Mercedes-AMG and the #99 Audi both hit problems. Iron Dames topped the Gold Cup class with a two-lap advantage over the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW. The race's first all-female crew in a quarter of a century held 20th overall having recently taken a pit stop.



Herberth Motorsport held a one-lap lead at the head of the Pro-Am order (18th overall). The #24 Porsche stopped a little before the 16-hour mark, with pro driver Alessio Picariello installed at the wheel. The #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW retained its Bronze Cup lead, two laps clear of the #20 SPS Mercedes-AMG in 35th overall.



There were 11 cars on the lead lap, the #71 Ferrari being the last of them. A total of 18 official retirements had been recorded at this stage of the race.  





Pressure builds as sun rises over Spa-Francorchamps circuit




As the sun rose over the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the fight for the lead in the biggest GT race in the world raged on. The Top 6 was separated by less than a minute.



At the sharp edge of the leading pack the situation after 14 hours of racing was quite different to the one at the half way point. Because there was a Full Course Yellow at the 14-hour mark, many of the leaders took advantage of the situation to make a pitstop. That meant that the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari was leading, from the #47 KCMG Porsche and the #98 ROWE BMW.



The Full Course Yellow was caused by a freak incident between two cars of the same team. The #46 Audi Sport Team WRT, with Nico Müller at wheel, could not avoid the #32 sister car driven by Charles Weerts when the latter tried to avoid a slow driving McLaren. For Weerts the race is over, Müller managed to get back to the garage, and after repairs the car could continue with Valentino Rossi at the wheel.



In Pro-Am, there was a change of leadership, with the #188 Garage 59 McLaren passing the #24 Herberth Motorsport. Meanwhile, another Pro-Am driver – Alessio Rovera (#52 AF Corse Ferrari) – set a new fastest lap record for the GT3-era of the event, lapping the 7,004 km circuit in 2m17.480s. It helped the Ferrari stay on the same lap as the leaders.



The Silver Cup lead is still in the hands of the #4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG, which is in 12th overall. In the Gold Cup the Iron Dames now enjoy a full lap advantage over the #34 Walkenhorst BMW. The sister car of the latter is still in the lead of the Bronze Cup.





SRO - photos Marc Hilger

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/24h-spa-happened-rowe-racing-lead-lot-action---240798.html

31.07.2022 / MaP

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