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Toyota Wins Chaotic, Incident-Filled 6H Spa

Lopez, Kobayashi, Conway win chaotic 6H Spa affected by red flags and rain…

Photo: MPS Agency

Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway have won the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa in a chaotic, rain-affected race that was red-flagged three separate times.

Both the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid and the No. 8 sister car of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa started the race behind pole-sitter Glickenhaus.

Buemi, however, was able to surpass the No. 708 Glickenhaus 007 Pipo of Olivier Pla within the moving hour, with Conway taking second place not much later.

The race was then red-flagged for the first time minutes into the second hour thanks to a substantial crash for ARC Bratislava driver Miro Konopka, who walked away from the crash.

When the race restarted under safety car, Buemi’s car stopped on the Kemmel Straight, continued and then came to a definitive halt at Campus, retiring with a hybrid issue.

This left the way clear for the No. 7 car to win ahead of the No. 36 Alpine A480 Gibson of Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere.

Olivier Pla, Romain Dumas and Pipo Derani finished the race third in class but ninth overall after a miscommunication on the pitwall saw Dumas switch to slicks too early, forcing the Frenchman to pit again for semi-slicks and tumbling down the order.

Dumas would later also struggle on his semi-slicks on a drying track, ultimately finishing the race out of the overall top ten.

The Hypercar contenders spent a good chunk of the race behind the No. 31 Team WRT Oreca 07 Gibson of Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast.

Frijns vaulted up into the lead following the first red flag, having taken rain tires before the rest of the field came in to pit.

The Dutchman was then able to keep the advantage to the Hypercar contenders on a wet track through a second and third red flag, brought out for heavy rain and barrier repairs following a crash from Inter Europol Competition’s Alex Brundle respectively.

Frijns eventually lost the lead to Kobayashi in the fifth hour as the track dried and would later also be passed by Derani and Vaxiviere.

The Belgian squad would hold on the class lead as Rene Rast took the car into the final stint, surviving two separate scares to take victory.

First, he ran wide into Les Combes but was able to continue, but a far more significant moment came when he made contact with a spinning Ultimate Oreca of Jean-Baptiste Lahaye coming out of Bruxelles.

WRT celebrated a one-two on its home track, with Ferdinand Habsburg, Rui Andrade and Norman Nato taking second place in the sister No. 41 Realteam by WRT car.

JOTA rounded out the top three, with Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Will Stevens beating Team Penske and both United Autosports cars to the final podium spot in their No. 38 Oreca.

GTE-Pro Battle Goes Down to Wire

The GTE-Pro class was won by the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.

The Italian squad benefitted greatly from the wet conditions, taking advantage of the first red flag to move to wet tires, which allowed both the No. 51 and the sister No. 52 Ferrari of Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco to leapfrog the pole-sitting Porsche.

Molina and Fuoco led a significant portion of the race but eventually fell behind Pier Guidi and Calado after a fuel stop.

While the Ferrari was able to keep the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen at bay in the wet conditions, the German squad closed the gap as the track dried out and got back in contention in the final hour.

Christensen first surpassed Fuoco before chasing after Calado, but the Briton was able to keep his Danish adversary at bay in a nail-biting finale that saw the two cars separated by just half a second.

The No. 52 finished third, ahead of the No. 64 Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, who finished fourth after an up-and-down race.

The duo were in contention in the early running, but experienced a major setback when they became stuck in the pitlane during the first red flag, with Tandy having entered it shortly before the race was halted.

The No. 91 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz was taken out of contention on the opening lap, thanks to contact with their sister car.

Bruni, starting from pole, made side-by-side contact with Estre, who overshot the first corner after a big lockup.

The touch destroyed the Italian’s left rear tire, leaving him to crawl to the pits. They ultimately finished 20th overall, two laps down in the class winners.

Christian Ried, Sebastian Priaulx and Harry Tincknell took GTE-Am honors in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche.

They finished ahead of the N0. 33 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen.

Paul Dalla Lana, David Pittard and Nicki Thiim completed the podium in the No. 98 Northwest AMR Aston Martin.

RESULTS: TotalEnergies 6H Spa

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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