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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Sainteloc Audi Leads on 18 Hours after Safety Car Restart

Eight cars remaining on lead lap as 24H Spa enters final six hours…

Photo: Audi

Audi Sport Team Sainteloc led the Total 24 Hours of Spa with six hours remaining as the field returned to green following the eleventh safety car period of the race.

Christopher Haase led the field to green with just 0.3 seconds over Audi Sport Team Attempto driver Mattia Drudi after both factory-supported Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos made short fuel stops during the interruption caused by a crash for a Pro-Am Ferrari.

AF Corse driver Louis Machiels exited the road at the Courbe Paul Frere right-hander and made heavy contact with the left-side tire barriers.

The ensuing Full Course Yellow period which was transferred into a safety car gave Audi the chance to get its two remaining contenders to the head of the field.

In third on the 18-hour mark was James Calado, whose AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 led at the 3 a.m. halfway mark and remained in contention past dawn at 7 a.m.

Calado was right on Drudi’s tail at the restart with the top three separated by less than a second.

Also in the lead train were Matt Campbell in fourth driving the No. 12 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and SMP Racing Ferrari driver Sergey Sirotkin in fifth.

The No. 98 ROWE Racing Porsche, Haupt Racing Team’s No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche were all in the leading train of cars heading into a crucial phase of the event.

GPX Racing’s No. 40 Porsche and the Honda Racing NSX GT3 Evo were ninth and tenth in the standings but a lap down.

A key moment of the early morning segment was an accident for the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo that had been the race leader at several stages and one of the protagonists in the fight for overall victory.

Dennis Lind lost control heading through Raidillion before scraping the left-side tire barriers and swerving across the track to hit the right-side barriers at speed. The Danish driver walked away from the accident while the car was retired.

This occurred with just over seven and a half hours remaining, shortly before Lamborghini also lost its Silver Cup class victory contender to an incident at the same corner.

The No. 78 Barwell Motorsport Huracan struck the No. 991 Herberth Motorsport Porsche which had spun and hit the left-side barriers, behind a spinning Aston Martin.

With 18 hours complete, Silver Cup was led by the No. 5 HRT Mercedes-AMG driven by Gabriele Piana, Sergey Afanasiev, Michele Beretta and team owner Hubert Haupt.

Pro-Am was led by the No. 188 Garage 59 Aston Martin from Sky-Tempesta Racing’s Ferrari.

The Am Cup field is down to one car after the Raton Racing Lamborghini had a large accident not long after dawn.

CMR looks on course to win the class with its No. 108 Bentley Continental GT3.

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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