Audi Win Dramatic Spa 6 Hours

The #8 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro of Oliver Jarvis, Lucas Di Grassi and Loic Duval this evening won the 2016 FIAWEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, a race which will go into the history books as one of the most fraught and action packed contests in endurance racing history.

FIA WEC Spa Francorchamp-0899 LORES

In a race that always seemed to be throwing another spanner in the works, almost all of the top cars lead at some point. Initially Porsche had the upper hand before hybrid issues took their toll, before a surprisingly quick Toyota pair inherited - and then sacrificed - the top spots due to engine trouble.

In the end it was the #8 which spent most time out of its garage, and therefore ended up somehow at the front of the race when the chequered flag flew. Second place was taken miraculously by the #2 Porsche which, after dropping to the back when its hybrid system stopped working altogether, stayed on track while all the others suffered.

Rebellion racing were ecstatic to take the last step of the overall race podium with their #13 R-One, an unthinkable result for a privateer team in the current LMP1 formula. The sister Rebellion finished fourth ahead of the recovering #7 Audi and the #4 ByKolles CLM.

The LMP2 field waited a long time to unleash their customary fierce battle, but when it came it was a classic thriller. The top four cars were battling right into the final minutes with the #36 Signatech Alpine taking the top spot from the #31 Extreme Speed Ligier with just 8 minutes to go.

FIA WEC Spa Francorchamp--5 LORES

Manor Racing took a hugely popular 3rd place when Roberto Merhi overtook RGR’s Filipe Albuquerque on the second to last lap of the race, a first podium in only their second endurance event.

GTE Pro was a rather one sided event with the two AF Corse Ferrari streaking into the lead at the start and comfortably lapping a number of seconds per lap quicker than the rest of the field. However an easy 1-2 was scuppered with just a few laps to go as the #51 was forced to retire, driver James Calado pictured holding his head in his hands in despair.

The #71 of Davide Rigon and Gimi Bruni took the class win, while second and third were taken by the #67 Ford and #97 Aston Martin. There were worried faces all round when the competitive #66 Ford had a huge accident at Eau Rouge, but pilot Stefan Mucke was cleared by the medical team with just ‘a fair amount of bruising’. The #95 Aston Martin was competitive at the start but ended up being rolled over into the tyre wall by an unfortunate clash with an LMP2 car.

GTE Am was a slightly quieter affair, with multiple penalties of all kinds putting paid to a number of teams’ chances at a win. The final order was headed by the #98 Aston Martin which had been well driven by Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana, while the #83 AF Corse Ferrari and #50 Larbre Corvette rounded off the podium.

Next up for the WEC is the big one - the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With five of six leading cars having experienced serious issues in the first four hours of this race there are big question marks for the great race - it’s anyone’s to play for.

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