Orange 1 FFF Racing Team took the Total 24 Hours of Spa lead when Lamborghini driver Marco Mapelli emerged from the second round of pit stops ahead of Raffaele Marciello.
With three hours complete and darkness already enveloping the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Mapelli in the No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo held a slender three-second advantage over Marciello in the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
Mapelli’s co-driver Dennis Lind ran eighth in the opening stint before rising to third at the first set of stops, before the Danish driver overtook Audi Sport Team Attempto’s Patrick Niederhauser into Les Combes after several laps of tracking.
That switch midway through the second hour presented Lind with the task of closing in the approximate 10-second gap to Marciello, who had been in charge since the start.
The Lamborghini then closed in on the Mercedes-AMG with the lead coming down to under half a second before Lind pitted to swap out for Mapelli.
FFF Racing Team’s stop came one lap earlier than AKKA-ASP’s, helping the Lamborghini crew to save three seconds and put Mapelli out in front.
Kevin Estre advanced to third in the No. 47 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R that is also being driven by the Frenchman’s fellow defending Spa winners Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz.
Estre came out best in a thrilling multi-car battle at the sharp end involving Luca Stolz, Frederic Vervisch, Romain Dumas, Matt Campbell and James Calado.
Audi Sport Team WRT driver Vanthoor was fourth behind a charging Estre at the three-hour mark, nine seconds clear of Stolz in the No. 4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG.
Calado had a strong stint after taking over the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 from Alessandro Pier Guidi, with the Englishman gaining three places to sixth.
Campbell and Dumas were seventh and eighth in the two GPX Racing Porsches, while Vervisch – whose co-driver Niederhauser had run as high as second after a strong opening stint from Mattia Drudi – had slipped to ninth.
In Silver Cup, Alex MacDowall took over the leading Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo from Frederik Schandorff and continued out front, with Gabriele Piana running six seconds behind in the No. 5 HRT Mercedes-AMG.
The former Pro-Am leading No. 991 Herberth Motorsport Porsche had its early good work undone by a spin for Robert Renauer who impacted the tire barriers at Pouhon in slippery conditions.
The off-strategy No. 77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini led on three hours from Sky-Tempesta Racing’s No. 93 Ferrari.
Herberth Motorsport held the lead in Am Cup with Marco Seefried at the wheel of its No. 918 Porsche.
The first bout of rainfall of the race arrived in the second hour, although the front-running cars have remained on slicks so far.