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Intercontinental GT Challenge

FFF Lamborghini in Ninth-Hour Lead after Multiple Changes

FFF leads on nine hours after taking turns with Iron Lynx, WRT at head of field…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Lamborghini squad Orange1 FFF Racing Team led the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa at the nine-hour mark after trading the lead with Iron Lynx and Audi Sport Team WRT.

Mirko Bortolotti led by around five seconds from Dries Vanthoor in the No. 32 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, with Dennis Lind circulating in third at the wheel of Audi No. 37.

The Audis emerged as the No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo’s main pair of challengers after the No. 51 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo incurred a drive-through penalty for a mechanic coupling the fuel hose while the car was still rising on its pit jacks.

That pushed Come Ledogar back to sixth behind the No. 95 Garage 59 Aston Martin, the No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW, the WRT Audis and the leading Lamborghini.

Prior to that setback, the Iron Lynx Ferrari led on six hours at the first Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup points distribution milestone to elevate Ledogar, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessandro Pier Guidi into the points lead.

That sixth-hour race lead soon switched to FFF in hour seven, with Andrea Caldarelli going on to establish an eight-second gap over Ledogar by the eight-hour mark.

Caldarelli’s edge increased a little further over the next quarter of an hour, until a third Full Course Yellow impacted the race as Rinaldi Racing’s Ferrari went off at Campus.

FFF pitted Caldarelli just before the slow period occurred, returning Ledogar to the front after the Frenchman came in under the associated safety car. Ledogar led at the restart from Bortolotti, then Kelvin van der Linde and Robin Frijns in the WRT Audis.

However, only five minutes after the green flag midway through the eighth hour, Ledogar was called to serve his drive-through which caused the Iron Lynx Ferrari to relinquish a growing 13-second cushion and flipped the Lamborghini back ahead.

Bortolotti still wasn’t safe, as van der Linde squeezed underneath the Italian at the Turn 9 left-hander, only for the Lamborghini driver to muscle past the No. 32 Audi – which started 54th on the grid – at the chicane.

Bortolotti’s lead extended during the ninth hour when van der Linde handed over to Vanthoor as the FFF crew kept its Super Pole qualifying driver behind the wheel.

After nine hours, behind FFF and WRT’s duo, David Pittard was fourth for Walkenhorst Motorsport which lost its contending No. 35 BMW M6 GT3 due to a currently unspecified mechanical issue.

Ross Gunn was fifth in the Garage 59 Aston Martin, ahead of a recovering Iron Lynx Ferrari driven by Nielsen and the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo run by AKKA-ASP.

The factory-supported No. 88 Mercedes had been running directly behind the No. 37 WRT Audi, both of which ran to alternate pit strategies until the third FCY. However, a drive-through for a premature fuel coupler connection dealt AKKA-ASP a setback.

Madpanda Motorsport continued its Silver Cup class dominance as the ninth-placed car overall, with Rik Breukers wheeling the Spanish team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Next in class was the CMR Bentley of Nelson Panciatici in 107th. Emil Frey Racing’s No. 14 Lamborghini dropped out of contention due to costly rear-end repairs after Rolf Ineichen had contact with another car.

Louis Machiels led the Pro-Am category on nine hours in the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari, which established itself in control just before midnight in the eighth hour.

Haegeli by T2 Racing led the Am Cup class by a lap from its sole rival Huber Motorsport.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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