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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Pier Guidi Leads 24H Spa at Halfway for Iron Lynx, Ferrari

Iron Lynx leads 24H Spa at halfway as drive-through deals setback to FFF…

Photo: Ferrari

Iron Lynx led the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa at halfway after benefiting from an Orange1 FFF Racing Team penalty and getting ahead of Audi Sport Team WRT in the pits.

Alessandro Pier Guidi reached the end of the 12th hour of racing with a 16-second advantage over Charles Weerts in the No. 32 WRT-prepared Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

Pier Guidi’s No. 51 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 returned to the lead of the Belgian enduro during a round of Full Course Yellow pit stops early in the 12th hour, when the Italian jumped ahead of Weerts who was swapping in for Dries Vanthoor at the time.

The turnaround gave Pier Guidi a lead that he would maintain through to the end of the hour, adding another 12 points to his Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup points lead shared with Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar.

Marco Sorensen was third at halfway for Aston Martin outfit Garage 59, ahead of Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA-ASP’s Daniel Juncadella and Christopher Mies of Audi Sport Team Attempto.

The No. 63 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo driven by Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti and Marco Mapelli lost its ninth-hour advantage to a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Caldarelli was running 11th at the 12-hour milestone having recently taken over from Mapelli during a pit stop, while the FFF entry ranked sixth before it came in.

WRT inherited the lead when Mapelli observed the penalty, but the Belgian team’s upper hand was short-lived as Iron Lynx would return to the front at the next round of pit stops.

Both Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3s lost their chances of a top result to technical issues, dashing Munich’s hopes of a third Spa win for its outgoing GT3 racer.

The first problem on the No. 35 Walkenhorst machine related to damage incurred earlier in the race, while the No. 34 withdrew from third position with an engine failure.

David Pittard parked the No. 34 BMW at the left side of the track near the chicane, prompting the officials to introduce the fourth Full Course Yellow of the race.

Another first-half FCY/safety car scenario played out when the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini stopped at pit exit.

It was during that slow period when the No. 51 Iron Lynx Ferrari leapfrogged WRT for the lead of the race.

Another car to encounter trouble was the Schnabl Engineering Porsche 911 GT3 R which retired after being struck from behind on the approach to Eau Rouge.

A setback was also encountered by the podium-contending No. 37 WRT Audi when Dennis Lind was forced to perform a reset at pit entry, costing around a minute and a half.

Lind was in third at the time, behind Vanthoor and race leader Mapelli, but his car was classified in eighth at halfway.

Silver Cup continued to be led by Madpanda Motorsport, although the No. 90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo had started to merge into the sight of the chasing pack led by Ferrari entrant Rinaldi Racing and the No. 31 WRT Audi.

The No. 188 Garage 59 Aston Martin dropped out of the Pro-Am category mix due to a change of gearbox that came not long after Marvin Kirchhofer had taken the lead from No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari driver John Wartique.

Wartique’s co-driver Alessio Rovera was third heading into the second half, while Matteo Cressoni led for Sky-Tempesta Racing from AF Corse’s Rino Mastronardi.

The Am Cup lead changed hands a few times in the opening half despite only two cars being entered. Haegeli by T2 Racing had the edge on Huber Motorsports after 12 hours.

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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