Hectic start to the 2016 Total 24 Hours of Spa

30 July 2016

Once the immense crowd was cleared from the grid at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the 69th running of the Total 24 Hours of Spa got underway, with the members of Californian rock band Linkin Park waving the Belgian flag to start the race.

René Rast had inherited the pole after the penalties for the Mercedes-AMG that had set the six fastest times during qualifying (see earlier report) and the driver of the #28 Audi Sport Team WRT R8 had little trouble in keeping that first position when the 65-car strong pack stormed up the famous Raidillon.

Three minutes after the start, the race had its first Full Course Yellow-situation, after the #333 Rinaldi Racing went off the road and Marco Seefried got stuck in the gravel bed. Just before the FCY-period started, four of the penalised Mercedes-AMG (the #00, #84, #86 and #88 cars) had entered pitlane to serve their five minute stop&go-penalty.

When the race went green, leader René Rast seemed to have trouble to get up to speed, giving Mirko Bortolotti in the #63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #50 AF Corse Ferrari the opportunity to overtake him.

Those top-3 positions remained unchanged until the first pitstops. After one hour of racing, the leader in Pro-Am Cup was the#24 Team Parker Racing Bentley of Callum McLeod, while Rui Aguas moved the #49 Kaspersky Motorsport Ferrari up from 55th on the grid to 31st and the lead in the Am Cup.

The first of the cars entered in the Intercontinental GT Challenge after one hour of racing was the #28 Audi Sport Team WRT R8, from the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental and the #6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix.