Spa: Hour 20 report
With just four hours to go, the pole setting 2 BMS Ferrari 550 Maranello regained the race lead from the nr 11 GPC Ferrari 575 M Maranello, due to a long pit stop of the latter. In N-GT, too, the first two positions were inversed in the pits, with ...
With just four hours to go, the pole setting 2 BMS Ferrari 550 Maranello regained the race lead from the nr 11 GPC Ferrari 575 M Maranello, due to a long pit stop of the latter. In N-GT, too, the first two positions were inversed in the pits, with the nr 50 Freisinger Porsche of Ortelli, Dumas and Collard moving up to third position, demoting the nr 77 car to fourth overall and second in the N-GT class.
The last third of the race distance started off badly for the nr 77 Freisinger Yukos Porsche, which had been leading the N-GT category for much of the race. After a long pit stop due to a wheel bearing problem, the car dropped back one place. Their sister car nr 50 moved up to lead N-GT, in third position overall. Meanwhile, the two Ferrari in front continued to pull away, the nr 11 GPC refusing to give the lead away, despite the nr 2 BMS charging behind.
A problem on the Viper nr 10 brought the safety car out again. Fanny Duchateau's car went down the escape road at marshal post six, smoking heavily and leaving oil spread all over the track. It stayed out for nearly an hour, while the marshals removed the oil that had been spilled over the track. The safety car period reduced the GPC Ferrari's lead to a minimum. The positions at the top remaining stationary.
As soon as the race was green flagged again, a puncture held up the Lister Storm nr 27, which slowly made its way back to the pits, while penalties awaited cars nr 77 and nr 1. The Freisinger Porsche nr 77 was awarded a 10 second stop-and-go penalty and the nr 1 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari was given a drive through penalty for pit assistance not being carried out under fully safe conditions. Both cars served their penalties without losing their positions, fourth and fifth respectively.
In lap 430 of the race, Karl Wendlinger spun his nr 17 JMB Ferrari from 8th position, but managed to rejoin the race without dropping back. However, he couldn't hold the position for long, because the car pitted only a handful of laps later and was pushed into the garage with engine problems. It rejoined the race later, but had lost several positions by then.
On lap 441, the leading Ferrari duo both pitted. The nr 11 GPC stayed longer at the pits than its rival, as they had to refix the extractor, lifting the rear wing. Vincent Vosse explained: "The extractor came detached, and was dragged along the track for a few laps. It was nearly impossible to change it, so they just fixed it back in place, but therefore they have to add downforce to compensate." Babini took the wheel, while Gollin was on duty in the nr 2 BMS, which took the lead on lap 443. The gap between the leaders gradually increased over the following laps, but they remained on the same lap. The nr 1 BMS Scuderia car remained fifth overall. "Things are not going too badly,” Matteo Bobbi explained. “It was not good to have that crash at midnight. We lost about fifty minutes in the pits. Without that, we would be in lead. But we're third in our class now, and that's okay, as long as we can hold the position till the end of the race."
After 20 hours of racing, the nr 2 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello led overall and in the GT category, the nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS led N-GT and was third overall, the nr 142 BMW M3 GTR led G2 in 8th place overall, and the nr 123 Mülhner Motorsport Porsche 996 Cup leads G3.