Halfway report: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

posted in: FIA, Le Mans, LMGTE-Am, LMGTE-Pro, LMP1, LMP2, Race, WEC, WEC-Magazin | 0

Porsche’s led the way into the 6 Hours of Spa-Francochamps earlier today. With rain due in the afternoon the gaps that the low drag cars can pull out now will be vital come the falling of the checkerd flag this evening.

SPA 2015 STARTPorsche set of from pole and held on though the early stages of the race, that didn’t change. Toyota started stongly passing all the Audis, although the German cars re passed the Japanese efforts before Le Combe. Porsche’s 3 car game plan kicked into gear early when the #19 car with Tandy behind the wheel began halting Fassler’s progress aboard the #7 Audi.

It was going perfectly for Porsche until at the 15 minute mark Nick Tandy clashed with Kevin Estre’s #91 GTE-PRO Porsche. Estre was able to continue with only a spin while Tandy suffered with front end body damage to the #19 919 Hybrid. Two laps were lost for the LMP1 team, Estre was pinged for the clash and served a drive though penalty for disregarding blue flags.

Harry Tincknell stormed into the lead by the end of the first lap in LMP2 after a fantastic start. Unfortunately for the Jota team the start was a little too good. The ELMS team was handed a penalty which saw it drop down the order for jumping the start.

The next LMP1 drama was when Marcel Fassler had a spin at the final corner half an hour into the race. The #8 Audi then gained a position from the backwards facing R18 e-tron Quattro.

Harry Tincknell stormed into the lead by the end of the first lap in LMP2 after a fantastic start. Unfortunately for the Jota team the start was a little too good. The ELMS team was handed a penalty which saw it drop down the order for jumping the start.

In GTE-PRO the #97 Aston Martin led field ahead of a hard charging pack of the #99 Aston Martin, #51 Ferrari and the recovering #91 Porsche 911.

SPA 2015 2In AM the Lamy led the early stages of the race ahead of the Porsche of Klaus Bachler and Ferrari of Matt Griffen. The class wasn’t without incident however. Aston Martin had a heart in the mouth moment when Roald Gorthe took the #96 car for a spin at the top of Radillion.

Porsche’s #17 car continued to lead until Hartley went straight on at the final chicane, rejoining through the marshal post on the next straight. The car was handed a penalty of 15 seconds stop and go for endangering marshals, which dropped the former leader down to fourth position.

With four hours and 22 minutes left on the clock the #17 Porsche’s jynx appeared again as it did at Silverstone, being pushed into the garage with a technical issue.

With the #17 car dropping into the pit garage, the #18 sister car picked up the lead of the race. Audi #7 and #8 were second and third respectively with the #2 Toyota in 4th ahead of the #1 in 5th.

In LMP2 Sam Bird’s early lead was surpassed by the Jota team who, with Mitch Evans and Harry Tincknell behind the wheel, regained the lead in class after their early penalty.

With three hours still on the clock it is anyone’s game. Romain Dumas leads LMP1 in the #18 Porsche, Mitch Evans in the #38 Jota leads LMP2. Richie Stanaway is heading the GTE-PRO field in the #99 Aston Martin. Paul Dalla Lana continues to lead in GTE-AM aboard his #98 Aston Martin

Pictures: FIA WEC 1, 2