With strong performances from the drivers and good strategies, Porsche’s customer teams shone during the night at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Because of heavy rainfall, the charge of the Porsche 911 GT3 R was thwarted when the Stewards of the Meeting stopped the race in the early morning hours. At 5.55am, the Belgian endurance classic was temporarily red-flagged.
Prior to this, the No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by GPX-Racing had put in a particularly impressive pursuit. Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Richard Lietz (Austria), who had at times led the pack, were handed a drive-through penalty in the evening, which threw them far down the field. In the night and in pouring rain, the driver trio implemented a good strategy and drove flawless stints to fight their way back up the order. Despite multiple accidents which resulted in long caution phases, and the red-flagging of the event hampering the No. 20 nine-eleven, it heads into the final third of the race still with good chances.
A drive-through penalty also lost the No. 998 vehicle campaigned by Rowe Racing a lot of ground. Patrick Pilet (France), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) gave a world-class performance in adverse conditions at the wheel of their Porsche 911 GT3 R and fought their way through the field one position after the other.
Dinamic Motorsport’s crew has also survived the long night at Spa. Putting in fast and steady stints, the team’s three drivers Klaus Bachler (Austria), Andrea Rizzoli (Italy) and Zaid Ashkanani (Kuwait) gave convincing drives in the 500+hp nine-eleven (#54), and, before racing stopped, were within reach of the front pack. Rowe Racing’s second Porsche 911 GT3 R with the starting number 99 is also on course for a spot at the front after a flawless drive through the night.
A total of 248 drivers tackle the 24-hour classic at Spa-Francorchamps in 72 vehicles. Eleven manufacturers are represented at the 71st edition of the Ardennes marathon, which is considered the largest and most important GT3 event in the world.
The 24-hour race can be viewed via live stream on the internet website of the Blancpain GT Series (www.blancpain-gt-series.com) as well as on the homepage of the Intercontinental GT Challenge (www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com).
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R: “The race was quite rightly red-flagged due to heavy rain. It simply became too dangerous to continue in these conditions. Until this point, though, our teams went through a rollercoaster of experiences. The Porsche 911 GT3 R performed really well in the wet conditions at the start of the race and were the pacesetters. Then, unfortunately, a number of mistakes followed. Rowe Racing and KÜS Team75 Bernhard drove too fast under yellow, and GPX Racing had one mechanic too many at the car during the pit stop. The resulting drive-through penalties threw the vehicles back. However, thanks to clever strategies they have made up ground to the front. Now our teams are back within striking distance to the top and we’re feeling positive about the rest of the race.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #20): “We made it through the night unscathed and have fought our way back into the race. Since we’ve already completed our compulsory technical pit stop, our chances of claiming a front spot have improved. Our car is running like clockwork, so we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing.”