Two early race contenders have hit trouble in the opening stages of the Suzuka 10 Hours, which has seen Audi Sport Team WRT take the lead in the third hour.
The No. 34 Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3 of Christian Krognes got clipped by a spinning Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in the second hour, resulting in significant rear-end damage to the car that had been running second at the time.
It promoted the No. 25 WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Frederic Vervisch to second, which later got into the lead following the second round of pit stops due to a slow stop for the then-leading No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW.
While Dries Vanthoor was extending his lead, contact between the No. 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Nick Cassidy and an out-of-control No. 98 Arrows Racing Honda NSX GT3 Evo of Jacky Yeung resulted in the race’s first Full Course Yellow and safety car period.
Cassidy limped his Ferrari back to the pits with suspected suspension damage.
An additional round of stops while under the FCY has seen the No. 25 WRT Audi, now in the hands of Kelvin van der Linde, out front of the No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Raffaele Marciello, who has moved into second.
The No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW of Martin Tomczyk has dropped to sixth as a result of a pit stop under the yellow.