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Spa 24 Hours: Aston Martin wins after Ferrari blocked at pit entry

Late drama for Ferrari helps Aston Martin secure victory in the centenary edition of Spa 24

Aston Martin stole a dramatic last-gasp victory at the Spa 24 Hours to claim a first win at the Belgian enduro since 1948. 

The Comtoyou Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 shared by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Mattia Drudi jumped into the lead of a race affected by heavy and prolonged rain and no fewer than 17 safety cars with less than 50 minutes left on the clock. 

They moved to the front of the field in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup blue riband when the race-leading factory AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3 with Alessandro Pier Guidi at the wheel found its path into the pits blocked. 

The lead AF entry Pier Guidi co-drove with Davide Rigon and Alessio Rovera lost just over 50s stationary behind the broken down Silver Cup class entry from the Grasser Lamborghini team in the narrow section of the pitlane between the Bus Stop chicane and the Formula 1 pitboxes . 

Pier Guidi led by just over 10s from the Aston when he ducked into the pits for his final stop, the delay before the Lambo was towed away handing Aston the victory in a race that also counted towards the Intercontinental GT Challenge. 

Drudi crossed the line in the best of the new-for-2024 evolution Vantages GT3s ahead of Pier Guidi. 

The stroke of luck on the part of Aston Martin allowed the British marque, a stalwart of the GT scene since 2005, to claim its second outright victory at Spa, 76 years after St John Horsfall and Leslie Johnson triumphed in the first post-war edition. 

Thiim, said: “What a crazy race with what happened all the way through the night with the rain - and now this! 

“Actually I feel a bit sorry for the Italians, but this means a lot to me. 

“This is the last one on my bucket list,” added a driver who has taken victory at the Nurburgring 24 Hours and class honours at Le Mnas. 

“It’s awesome.”

#51 AF Corse - Francorchamps Ferrari 296 GT3: Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon, Alessio Rovera

#51 AF Corse - Francorchamps Ferrari 296 GT3: Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon, Alessio Rovera

Photo by: Emanuele Clivati | AG Photo

Pier Guidi recovered to second in the centenary running of the Spa enduro, moving past David Pittard in the #34 Walkenhorst Aston and then the Rutronik Porsche 911 GT3-R with Julien Andlauer at the wheel, which still needed to make its final stop for fuel. 

That put Pier Guidi third behind the Rowe BMW M4 GT3 of Max Hesse, Dan Harper and Augusto Farfus, which had to come into the pits with two minutes to go after what should have been its final pitstop was brought forward by a slow puncture. 

That dropped the car to sixth in the final order, but BMW still claimed a podium in a race it won last year courtesy of the WRT team.

Dries Vanthoor crossed the line in fourth place in the M4 he shared with Sheldon van der Linde and Charles Weerts but immediately moved up a place ahead of the Walkenhorst Aston of David Pittard, Henrique Chaves and Ross Gunn. 

Pittard was docked 10s for contact with Pier Guidi when the Italian came past at Les Combes as he charged back after his delay. 

Franck Perera, Jordan Pepper and Marco Mapelli took fifth in the Grasser Racing Team’s lead Lamborghini Huracan GT EVO2 the first-named had put on pole position. 

Ferrari looked set to reprise its 2021 victory at Spa with an AF-run 488 GT3 Evo entered under Iron Lynx banner and driven by Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar. 

Pier Guidi was aboard the car when the race turned in the favour of the Italian marque. 

He was running a close third in the 20th hour when he stopped one lap before the two cars ahead, the Rowe BMW and the Comtoyou Aston. 

Pier Guidi’s pace on the outlap gave the Ferari the lead ahead of the battling BMW and Aston in the respective hands of Harper and Thiim. 

Thiim then made it past Harper at the Bruxelles hairpin three laps later but was unable to do anything about the Ferrari, which edged away into a lead that stood at a little more than 3s at the next round of stops. 

The lead continued to go up over a run to the flag interrupted only by one further caution period, a quick-fire Full Course Yellow with just under an hour to go. 

Mercedes, a two-time winner of the Spa enduro in the GT3 era, could finish no better than seventh with the Getspeed team’s #777 that took Gold Cup class honours with Mikael Grenier, Philip Ellis, Dominik Baumann and Al Faisal Al Zubair. 

The #48 Winward Racing Merc in which Lucas Auer qualified second and led early on retried in the 13th hour as a result of accident damage, while the #2 Getspeed entry driven by Jules Gounon, Luca Stolz and Fabian Schiller was withdrawn with front left hub issues during the night. 

Porsche took eighth and ninth positions, the SSR Herberth 992-shape 911 GT3-R of Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Frederic Makowiecki beating the Rutronik entry of Julien Andlauer, Sven Muller and Patric Niederhauser

Audi rounded out the top 10 with the Bronze Cup-winning R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of Attempto drivers Max Hofer, Dylan Pereira, Aleksei Nesov and Andrey Mukovoz.

 

Rank Car Class TeamDriver Lap Pit Stops
1 7 PRO Comtoyou Racing (Aston Martin) 478 31
2 51 PRO AF Corse - Francorchamps Motors (Ferrari) 478 30
3 32 PRO Team WRT (BMW M) 478 32
4 34 PRO Walkenhorst Motorsport (Aston Martin) 478 30
5 163 PRO GRT Grasser Racing Team (Lamborghini) 478 34
6 998 PRO Rowe Racing (BMW M) 478 32
7 777 Gold AlManar Racing by GetSpeed (Mercedes-AMG) 478 31
8 92 PRO SSR Herberth (Porsche) 478 31
9 96 PRO Rutronik Racing (Porsche) 477 31
10 66 Bronze Tresor Attempto Racing (Audi) 477 32
11 159 PRO Garage 59 (McLaren) 477 33
12 99 PRO Tresor Attempto Racing (Audi) 477 31
13 52 Bronze AF Corse (Ferrari) 477 31
14 72 Bronze Barwell Motorsport (Lamborghini) 477 35
15 25 Gold Sainteloc Racing (Audi) 476 30
16 93 Bronze SKY - Tempesta Racing (Ferrari) 476 28
17 77 Gold Haupt Racing Team (Mercedes-AMG) 476 27
18 9 PRO Boutsen VDS (Mercedes-AMG) 476 30
19 64 PRO Proton Competition (Ford) 475 29
20 11 Bronze Comtoyou Racing (Aston Martin) 475 33
21 27 Bronze Optimum Motorsport (McLaren) 475 31
22 80 Bronze Lionspeed X Herberth (Porsche) 475 32
23 5 Bronze Optimum Motorsport (McLaren) 475 28
24 46 PRO Team WRT (BMW M) 475 35
25 3 Silver GetSpeed (Mercedes-AMG) 474 30
26 23 PRO Phantom Global Racing (Porsche) 473 30
27 55 Silver Dinamic GT (Porsche) 473 33
28 57 Silver Winward Racing (Mercedes-AMG) 473 31
29 4 PAM CrowdStrike by Riley (Mercedes-AMG) 472 35
30 88 Gold Tresor Attempto Racing (Audi) 472 29
31 90 Silver Madpanda Motorsport (Mercedes-AMG) 471 32
32 21 Silver Comtoyou Racing (Aston Martin) 470 30
33 991 Bronze Century Motorsport (BMW M) 470 35
34 26 Silver Sainteloc Racing (Audi) 462 30
35 78 Bronze Barwell Motorsport (Lamborghini) 460 31
36 16 PAM Uno Racing Team with Landgraf (Mercedes-AMG) 457 25
37 19 Silver GRT Grasser Racing Team (Lamborghini) 456 32
38 158 Bronze Garage 59 (McLaren) 454 23
39 188 Bronze Garage 59 (McLaren) 451 28
40 10 Silver Boutsen VDS (Mercedes-AMG) 448 30
41 100 PAM Team RJN (McLaren) 445 29
42 60 Gold 2 Seas Motorsport (Mercedes-AMG) 430 27
43 8 Bronze Kessel Racing (Ferrari) 366 24
44 35 Silver Walkenhorst Motorsport (Aston Martin) 364 25
45 74 Bronze Kessel Racing (Ferrari) 348 24
46 911 PRO Pure Rxcing (Porsche) 307 23
47 30 Bronze OQ by Oman Racing (BMW M) 295 28
48 2 PRO M-AMG Team GetSpeed (Mercedes-AMG) 283 24
49 130 PRO Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing (Mercedes-AMG) 276 22
50 28 PRO Haas RT (Audi) 273 22
51 71 PRO AF Corse - Francorchamps Motors (Ferrari) 236 18
52 36 Bronze Walkenhorst Motorsport (Aston Martin) 231 21
53 48 PRO Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER (Mercedes-AMG) 222 21
54 111 Gold CSA Racing (Audi) 174 16
55 91 Bronze Herberth Motorsport (Porsche) 121 11
56 63 PRO Iron Lynx (Lamborghini) 120 13
57 888 PAM Triple Eight JMR (Mercedes-AMG) 114 10
58 22 PRO Schumacher CLRT (Porsche) 89 7
59 992 PRO HubAuto Racing (Porsche) 88 8
60 12 Silver Comtoyou Racing (Aston Martin) 79 4
61 333 Bronze Rinaldi Racing (Ferrari) 78 3
62 61 PAM EBM (Porsche) 76 5
63 54 Bronze Dinamic GT (Porsche) 74 4
64 38 PAM Haas RT (Audi) 73 7
65 98 PRO Rowe Racing (BMW M) 71 4
66 97 Bronze Rutronik Racing (Porsche) 18 2

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