Proximus 24 Hours of Spa Larbre heading for the end; N-GT Porsche up to second. After 18 hours of racing, the nr 1 Larbre Competition ChÃ©reau Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Bouchut, Terrien, Vosse and Bourdais is still leading the Proximus 24 Hours...
Proximus 24 Hours of Spa
Larbre heading for the end; N-GT Porsche up to second.
After 18 hours of racing, the nr 1 Larbre Competition Chéreau Chrysler Viper GTS-R of Bouchut, Terrien, Vosse and Bourdais is still leading the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. However, after six relatively quiet hours at Spa, a number of problems hit the frontrunners at 10 am. First the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R, placed second at the 12-hour point and throughout the third quarter of the race, came into the pits, Babini at the wheel, with heavy front-end damage. This brought the leading N-GT car the nr 54 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-R of Ortelli, Dumas and Collard up to an extraordinary second place. The Freisinger Porsche had been running close to the nr 15 Lister Storm, the two battling for third place but just as the nr 12 pitted with damage, the nr 15 Storm spun at Les Combes and also lost time.
The third quarter of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa is the only one with no direct allocation of Championship points. The drivers are now determined to head for the end of the race, both for the full set of championship points and for the prestige of a finish in a major endurance event.
As dawn broke over Spa-Francorchamps, the racing got underway again after losing three hours behind the safety car following Anthony Kumpen's accident in the nr 3 Carsport Holland Chrysler Viper.
Between four and six o'clock, the safety car came out again for two brief moments, to allow the nr 62 Cirtek Porsche and the nr 55 Freisinger Porsche to be recovered from gravel traps. This had the effect of closing up the field, the nr 12 Paul Belmondo Racing Chrysler Viper benefiting the most as it closed more than a minute on the leading nr 1 Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper.
The leading N-GT car was in third position overall, the nr 54 Freisinger Porsche of Ortelli, Dumas and Collard. The nr 76 RWS Porsche moved to second place in N-GT when the nr 55 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche went off. The Freisinger car re-joined fractionally ahead of fourth-placed Andrea Bertolini in the nr 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, eventually conceding the position.
At half-past six, the nr 1 Larbre Viper had been in control of the race for 100 laps - a total distance of 694.7 km, and had picked up maximum points by leading at the six-hour mark, and mid'distance.
As the sun rose over the Ardennes hills, the two leading Chrysler Viper cars were holding position. There was a heated battle for third place overall, between the nr 54 Freisigner Porsche and the nr 15 Lister Storm, the pair exchanging positions in the pits.
At 9 am, the nr 76 RWS Motorsport Porsche, N-GT winner in 2001 and lying in second place in class, came to a halt before Combes after suffering a drop in oil pressure. This brought the nr 50 JMB Ferrari up into second place in N-GT, with the second Freisinger Porsche in third. The nr 64 Cirtek Porsche was in an excellent fourth, with the nr 78 Seikel Motorsport and the 81 Swiss GT Racing cars rounding off the top six.