It was victory for the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa having started from pole position and giving Mercedes their first win in the race since 2013.
SPA 24 HOURS | ENTRY LIST | LIVESTREAM | PRACTICE REPORT | PRE-QUALIFYING REPORT | QUALIFYING REPORT | THURSDAY GALLERY | SUPER POLE REPORT | K-PAX DISQUALIFIED; AKKODIS ASP ON POLE | INTERVIEW KLAUS BACHLER | FOUR HOUR REPORT | SATURDAY GALLERY | RACE REPORT | CLASS WINNERS | INTERVIEW RAFFAELE MARCIELLO
Marciello brought the winning car home completing 536 laps in a race that unusually didn’t see a drop of rain throughout the whole event. Amongst the 16 full course yellows there was just a single hour long red flag which came overnight in order to repair barrier damage.
Following the disappointment of 2021 when a brake failure put the team out of the race having led for much of the first 12 hours, victory is surely sweet for the Akkodis ASP team. The #88 car was never too far out of the top places despite issues such as Gounon getting spun out at the chicane and Marciello briefly visiting the newly installed gravel trap at La Source.
Some 31 seconds behind the winner was Luca Stolz in the #2 AMG Team GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 who, with co-drivers Steijn Schothorst and Maximilian Götz, gave Mercedes a 1-2 podium. A late challenge from Maro Engel in the #55 AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 could have made it a complete Mercedes podium. Maybe an extra lap would have been enough to do that but Antonio Fuoco in the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari was able to retain third place despite his tyres rapidly loosing grip to secure a podium finish for himself and co-drivers Daniel Serra and Davide Rigon.
There was also a late charge from the #50 Rowe Racing BMW M4 GT3 with Daniel Harper – sharing the BMW Juniors car with Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse – rapidly moving up the field in the final hour but ultimately losing fourth to Maro Engel who with fresher tyres was able to catch and pass the BMW in the final minutes of the race before setting off after the third-placed Ferrari. Engel was joined in the GruppeM machine by a rejuvenated Maximilian Buhk and fellow DTM racer Mikaël Grenier.
Behind Harper was the sister Rowe car, the #98 of Nicky Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly which had been a contender for the win, but a late puncture saw them drop down the field to finish in sixth place.
The drive of the race could probably go to the #47 KCMG Porsche 991.2 GT3R of Dennis Olsen, Nick Tandy, and Laurens Vanthoor who qualified in 60th place and in the first two laps of the race made up 22 places. By the end, the car finished as the highest-placed Porsche with a remarkable seventh place finish.
History was made by the #83 Iron Dames Ferrari 488 GT3 by becoming the first all female crew to win their class. They took victory in the Gold Cup with Doriane Pin bringing home the car for teammates Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting.
Thomas Neubauer took the win in Silver Cup driving the #30 Team WRT Audi R8 GT3 with teammates Jean Baptiste Simmenauer and Benjamin Goethe. Finishing 13th overall, they were also the highest-placed Audi with Team WRT beset with numerous problems through the race with their other cars – most notoriously the #46 of Nico Müller taking out the #32 of Charles Weerts in an unfortunate clash during the morning hours.
Pro-Am victory went to another Ferrari with the #52 AF Corse of Stefano Costantini, Andrea Bertolini and Alessio Rovera with Louis Machiels doing the final stint to take the flag. Bertolini’s charge in the late morning gave AF Corse the lead, and minutes later was solidified when his contender Miguel Ramos in the #188 Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 speered off into the wall at high-speed going into Blanchimont after being tagged from behind by the #93 Sky – Tempesta Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
With only two entrants in the Bronze category it was the #20 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Tim Müller, George Kurtz, Valentin Pierburg and Reema Juffali taking the win, finishing in 34th overall ahead of their only competitors the #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 of Henry Walkenhorst, Jörg Breuer, Donald Yount and Theo Oeverhaus who finished in P37 overall.
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