#Spa24h Race Updates – Part 2

#Spa24h Race Updates – Part 2

Hour 7

* The #32 BMW has taken advantage of what is now a safety car to make a short pit stop. That's fuel only for Sheldon van der Linde, who'll restart immediately behind elder brother Kelvin.

* That'll be a full-course yellow. Meanwhile, the #60 VSR Lamborghini is going back into the garage. Not a great race for the Italian brand, this.

* The #83 Iron Dames Lamborghini has hit the barriers at T17. It's being recovered by a snatch vehicle. Doriane Pin had not long taken the wheel of that car, which unfortunately appears to be out of the running. 

* The aforementioned leading trio of cars have just stopped, on schedule. In one for the Van der Linde family Christmas letter, Sheldon and Kelvin now run first and second in the #32 BMW and #17 Audi respectively. Timur Boguslavskiy has climbed aboard the #88 Mercedes-AMG.

* At the head of the field, the #32 BMW is 12 seconds to the good. The #17 Audi is second but the #88 Mercedes of Raffaele Marciello is now just 3.3 seconds adrift. 

* Remarkably, the Bronze Cup leader runs seventh overall. Henrique Chaves is flying at the wheel of the #188 Garage 59 McLaren, a whopping 18 places clear of his closest class rival. That is a stellar effort – but there's a long way to go yet.

* We are unable to explain why just yet, but two of the front-runners have pitted off sequence. The #92 Porsche and the #98 BMW both stopped mid-way through their respectives stints, seemingly without any problems. So there's that. We'll have to keep an eye on it. 

Hour 8

* Change for the lead: WRT's #32 BMW was second before Scherer's Audi pitted but has jumped ahead on its slightly alternative strategy. Ditto Manthey EMA's Porsche which now has Kevin Estre onboard. 

* Short, fuel-only pitstops for several of the leading contenders during the last FCY/SC period means we've got split strategies at the front. Race leader Kelvin van der Linde plus Al Manar and Akkodis ASP, who are on the regular strategy, and have just stopped, which leaves WRT's #32 BMW out front in the hands of Sheldon van der Linde. However, his next pitstop - as well as those of both ROWE BMWs, Manthey EMA's Porsche and Tresor Orange1's Audi - are all imminent.

* Timur Boguslavskiy is going backwards in the #88 Mercedes-AMG. He took that car over in third but now runs eighth after being passed by messrs Harper, Vanthoor, Wittmann, Drudi and Chaves. Timur owes us a pit stop and it'll be interesting to see if he stays aboard

* The #83 Iron Dames Ferrari has become only the third car to retire from this race. That's a very low attrition race after seven and a half hours. 

* Dan Harper passes Timur Boguslavskiy on the Kemmel straight. The #998 BMW is now up to third, the #88 Mercedes down to fourth.

* We've had an incident between the #2 Mercedes and the #10 Audi, which sends the latter into the pits with damage to the right rear. We're able to stay green though, which is nice. 

* Green flag. We've completed seven hours and 10 minutes of this race.

* Seems like a good time for a class update, doesn't it? Gold Cup is led by the #9 Boutsen VDS Audi, driven at this moment by Adam Eteki and running 11th overall. The Silver Cup is topped by Tresor Orange1 with Lorenzo Patrese sitting 26th in the #99 Audi. The Bronze Cup is being dominated by Garage 59; Henrique Chaves is ninth overall in the #188 McLaren. Finally, in Pro-Am, it's still Car Collection with Ivan Jacoma sitting 36th in the #24 Porsche. Time to go racing again.

Hour 9

* The #75 Sun Energy1 Mercedes-AMG runs third in Pro-Am. Why is that significant? We'll tell you why that is significant. Kenny Habul crashed that car in Pre-Qualifying, which put both him and the chassis out of contention. A new model has been sourced and it's running very nicely indeed, thank you very much.

* Dries ain't leading any more. Kevin Estre nails him with a great run at the green flag and a much better exit from La Source. The #92 Manthey EMA Porsche leads. 

* Green flag. We're 10 minutes away from the nine-hour mark. Dries Vanthoor leads aboard the #32 Team WRT BMW.

* Safety car procedure. Which also means a wave-by for cars running ahead of their class leader in the pack.

* We've seen a replay and it looks as though the #60 Lambo has an accident of its own – possibly contact with another car – and the #4 and the #38 have nowhere to go. No major damage to any of them, fortunately. 

* Full-course yellow. Looks like the #4 Mercedes-AMG has come together with the #60 VSR Lambo around Bruxelles. The #38 ST Racing Ferrari is also in there.

* We've said it before, but the #188 Garage 59 McLaren continues to run superbly. The Bronze Cup leader is now P13 overall with Conrad Grunewald at the wheel, meaning all four drivers have participated in the race. The #188 is currently nine spots clear of its closest class contender, which remains the #911 Pure Rxcing Porsche. 

* Van der Line (of the Sheldon variety) leads by 16 seconds from Kevin Estre. We have three BMWs in the top-four with the #32 in P1, the #98 in P3 and the #998 in P4. It's going well for the M4 runners at this stage. 

Hour 10

* The best of the Ferraris is just hanging on to the very tail of the lead lap. Antonio Fuoco is abouy 10 seconds clear of being lapped by the leading #98 BMW. Remember, that car recently required work to its front end.

* Julien Andlaur is in the #92 Porsche and, on his first flying lap, he's broken the GT3 lap record at Spa. That now stands at 2m17.191s. 

* The erstwhile leaders have fallen all the way to 19th and 20th. The #92 Porsche still runs ahead of the #96 Porsche, but they're very much off the normal strategy.

* The leaders stop. Estre and Preining are in, so the #98 ROWE BMW takes over at the front with Philipp Eng at the wheel. It's a BMW one-two with the #32 Team WRT car of Dries Vanthoor in second. 

* Meatball flag for the #71 AF Corse Ferrari. The car had no front lights – also sub-optimal – and they're changing the front-end. 

* The #159 Garage 59 McLaren – the Pro car, rather than the Bronze leader – is in it pits. It appears to have a shattered brake disc, which is sub-optimal. Its lost five laps and counting, so it's game over as far as a good result goes.

* Green flag. We're racing again. Let's hope we can keep it going for a while after a few recent interruptions.

* We're behind the safety car now. The leading cars – the #92 Porsche and the #96 Porsche – are 40 minutes into a stint. Everyone else behind them stopped five minutes ago.

* We begin the 10th hour with a full-course yellow. The #70 Lambo and the #81 Mercedes have come together after the former spun at Les Combes. Drivers okay, but that'll be another safety car. We've been informed that there will be no wave-by this time.

Hour 11

* We'll go green again with just a few minutes remaining in the 11th hour. Marciello will lead them away.

* There it is: safety car on-track. The #88 Mercedes-AMG driven by Raffaele Marciello is the only one of the leaders not to stop. He's halfeay through his stint.

* It was the #4 CrowdStrike Mercedes, driven by Colin Braun, which spun into the gravel. He's got it out and made it back to the pits, but this is likely to develop into a safety car.

* Full-course yellow. What for? We do not yet know. But we will inform you the moment we do.

* So, we sort of have two races here. The two Porsches are out front on one strategy, followed by a trio of BMWs, and Audi and a Mercedes on another. Nice and complicated. Just what you want at 3am. 

* Two recent retirements to inform you of, both in the Pro-Am class. The #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini and the #38 ST Racing with Rinaldi Ferrari are both out of the race.

* This is becoming a very good night for BMW. They run first (#98), second (#32) and fourth (#998), while the #30 leads in the Gold Cup. The Valentino Rossi-driven #46 machine is also in the mix, the Doctor running a solid eighth overall.

Hour 12

* And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the halfway point in this race. Here are your class leaders. Let's head over to part 3 of 

* The leading #40 Audi has just completed a short pit stop. Ricardo Feller remains in the lead of the race by dint of the fact that this is still a full-course yellow, rather than a safety car.

* So with 20 minutes until half distance it's the #40 Audi at the front. The #88 Mercedes runs second followed by another Merc – the #999 – and the #11 Audi. None of the top-six have taken their technical pit stops yet. 

* Raffaele Marciello has just taken a short pit stop. Not sure why, to be perfectly honest. All he appears to have done is reset his pit time. He's still P2 which will mean more points in about 30 minutes. 

* Estimated repair time for that barrier on Kemmel is one hour. We have multiple cars taking their technical pit stops, but the #88 Mercedes isn't among them. Akkodis ASP want to maximise championship points. 

* We believe that the #46 BMW has taken its technical pit stop. You can do so from the start of the 12th hour, which was roughly 10 minutes ago. 

* Big drama as the race goes to full-course yellow. right on the 11-hour mark. The #32 and #998 – both BMWs – have come together on the Kemmel straight. The cars are out of the race with heavy damage. Charles Weerts was driving the #32 and Neil Verhagen the #998. Both are okay, but their 24 Hours are over early. This will be a lengthy delay.