Audi Sport Team WRT has lost its pole for the Total 24 Hours of Spa for an illegal performance modification, promoting R-Motorsport to the top qualifying position for the start of this afternoon’s Belgian endurance classic.
The news came four-and-a-half hours prior to the start of the race, which has seen Dries Vanthoor’s pole-winning time deleted and the No. 1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 moved to the rear of the Super Pole field.
In addition, the car will also have to serve a three-minute stop-and-hold penalty during the race for non-sporting behavior as a result of presenting the car with a technical non-conformity.
According to the stewards decision, the car had a “modified air tract which gave a performance advantage.”
Vanthoor shares the No. 1 Audi with Christopher Mies and Alex Riberas, who lead the Blancpain GT Series drivers’ championship entering this weekend’s race.
The Jota and Arden-supported No. 62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 has moved into pole, with Maxime Martin set to take the start of the race.
The Belgian team has until 12:55 p.m. local time to appeal the ruling on the grid position although the in-race penalty is non-appealable.
Cars Lose Times for Pit Exit Violation
WRT’s No. 17 Audi and entries from Emil Frey Lexus Racing and Team75 Bernhard have also had Super Pole lap times deleted for a pit exit violation, meanwhile.
Stewards found that Albert Costa, Daniel Serra and Laurens Vanthoor all exited the pit lane outside of the published time, breaching Article 166 h of the Blancpain GT Series 2018 Sporting Regulations.
It will result in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, No. 17 Audi R8 LMS GT3 and No. 117 Porsche 911 GT3 R all placed to the rear of the Super Pole grid.
They will be placed on the grid before cars that did not take part in the Super Pole and behind cars that did not breach Article 166 h, in the order of their best lap times set.
Vanthoor initially set the 12th best time while Serra was 13th in the session and Costa 19th.