#Spa24h Race Updates – Part 4

#Spa24h Race Updates – Part 4

* The #100 has moved to the lead of the Pro-Am class. Chris Buncombe has recently taken over that car after a long shift by Jann Mardenborough. 

* Silver is also led by a Mercedes-AMG. In this case it's the #3 GetSpeed entry driven by James Kell. 

* The #777 Mercedes-AMG leads in Gold with a decent advantage over the similar #77 machine. Dominik Baumann is currently at the wheel of that car. 

* The #66 Audi remains a superb sixth overall and the clear Bronze Cup leader. This has been a remarkable performance by the Tresor Attempto car. Max Hofer is currently at the wheel and has been for some time.

* The gap is now under a second as Sorensen continues to close down the #998 BMW. Rovera is hovering about three seconds back in the #51 Ferrari.

* Chaves pits: And the leaders are released. Sorensen now only trails Farfus by 1.5s, so we've got a proper fight for the lead on our hands.

* Aston making gains: Marco Sorensen is flying here since taking over. He's halved the gap to Farfus and is now only 2s behind the BMW, which is set to inherit the lead when Chaves finally does pit.

* Good news: After his nasty accident at Blanchimont, Joel Sturm has been checked over in the medial centre and released.

* It's closing up... The true leading quartet have all completed their latest round of stops, and it's Farfus out front in the #998 Rowe BMW, with Sorensen's #007 Comtoyou Aston Martin 4.2s back, and Rovera right behind in the third-placed AF Corse Ferrari. Chaves may be leading at the moment in the #34 Aston, but he owes us a stop.

* Into the final six! We're now inside the final quarter of the race, and with that the track limits have been reset, so expect to see some boundaries being pushed soon.

* Pressures in question: Lello confirms low rear tyre pressures were causing his troubles in the #46, especially with a few spots of rain coming and going. Rossi is now installed in the car and rejoins with fresh boots.

* Marciello pits from second. And slightly earlier than we expected. The team didn't change tyres during the last stop, so that could explain the balance issues. A refreshed Rossi is ready and waiting to take over.

* Is the #46 struggling? There have been some reports from the drivers of the #46 WRT BMW suggesting the balance of that car is quite a way off. Explains why Marciello dropped behind Hesse's Rowe car and has yet to respond.

* Change of leader. The BMWs have swapped at the front, with Max Hesse's Rowe Racing M4 slipping past Raffaele Marciello's Team WRT car to assume the lead. However, Alessio Rovera's AF Corse Ferrari and Mattia Drudi's Comtoyou Aston are right behind.

* This is the final part of our race coverage. It's emotional, we know. As it stands the #46 BMW holds a narrow advantage over the similar #998 machine with the #51 Ferrari making gains in third. 

Could somebody please check on Max Hofer when he gets out of the #66 Audi. It feels as though he's been aboard that car since the start.

* It remains very close at the front. The #998 BMW is 0.5s clear of the #7 Aston Martin, with the #51 Ferrari another 0.7s back. Right now, these are the main contenders for the win. 

We're green again after the ensuing FCY and Safety Car. A little over four hours remain in this race.

* Safety Car: Valentino Rossi tags the #74 Ferrari into a spin at Les Combes, and the Kessel car is then collected by the #35 Aston Martin. The #46 continues, albeit now a lap down after repairs, while the other two are out.   

* We're  about to go back to green flag conditions with 4 hours and 40 minutes left on the clock.

* Safety Car now on track. 

* FCY for a crashed Ferrari. John Hartshorne lost the #74 car at Bruxelles and causes big damage to the front. Driver out and okay.

* Also, the sun is out. Which is nice. It's 11:30 local time. 

* Five hours to go at the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. The #998 BMW still leads and has edged a little clear of the #7 Aston, albeit by just 1.5 seconds. 

* Class leaders with a shade over three hours remaining: #777 Mercedes-AMG in Gold (P8); #66 Audi in Bronze (P11); #3 Mercedes-AMG in Silver (P24); #4 Mercedes-AMG in Pro-Am (P29). 

* With all stops complete the order is now correct, as it were: the #51 Ferrari leads from the #7 Aston Martin and the #998 BMW. 

* The current top three are the #163 Lamborghini, the #96 Porsche and the #72 Lamborghini (the Bronze leader). However all three are due to stop in the next 15-ish minutes. That will move the #51 Ferrari to the lead.

* Woooooah this is heating up. As the #7 Aston Martin and #998 BMW exit the pits, the #51 Ferrari blasts past on the Kemmel – and into the net lead. The Aston – under the control of Nicki Thiim – then muscles past the Dan Harper-driven BMW. That was a big moment. 

* The #51 Ferrari has broken away. Rovera leads by 8 seconds over the #7 Aston Martin, while the #998 BMW is 27 seconds back. With two hours to go, is the top three already settled? You'd be brave to bet on it. 

* We're back on schedule, in terms of pit stops. The race has really settled down, too. Everyone's trying to keep it neat and tidy before the final push. Two hours and 20 minutes remain.

* We've singled out the trio of #51 Ferrari, #7 Aston and #998 BMW as the leading contenders, but we can't rule out some kind of strategic masterstroke beyond our thinking. As the aforementioned cars stop, the #163 Lamborghini will cycle to the lead. Its stint time doesn't stack up, but it – plus a few others – should be kept in mind. 

* Three hours to go and it's a three-horse race at Spa-Francorchamps.

* The aforementioned close Silver battle is over: the #10 Mercedes-AMG has ground to a halt on the run to Eau Rouge. That's brought out an FCY.


* The overall win may look fairly secure, but the Silver Cup could hardly be closer. The #10 Boutsen VDS Mercedes-AMG is just 0.3 seconds behind the similar #10 GetSpeed machine.

* Barring any surprises, this is going to be a Ferrari win. The #51 has just one more stop to make and retains a 10-second advantage at the head of the field.  The #998 BMW has now dropped even further from the second-place #Aston, meaning the podium positions look to be settled. Disclaimer: this is Spa and anything can happen.

* So this is how it ended...

The #51 Ferrari had a 10-second gap at the head of the field and had seemed on course for victory when it pulled in for its final stop with 50 minutes left. But in a moment of incredible misfortune for the Italian squad, it arrived at the pit entrance to find a stricken Lamborghini blocking its way. 

As the moments slipped by, a likely victory slipped away. The Lamborghini was eventually removed and the Ferrari made its stop, but the lost time would prove decisive. When the Aston Martin completed its final service a few minutes later, it returned to the track at the head of the field. Drudi held an advantage of 25 seconds and did not put a foot wrong over the final 45-minutes. When he chequered flag fell, the celebrations could begin in the Comtoyou Racing garage .

That was a remarkable twist to finish the race. Bitter disappointment for AF Corse, jubilation for Comtoyou Racing.

* That FCY was a quick one: we're green again with less than an hour to go.