Hertz Team JOTA wins dramatic WEC race at Spa
Photo: WEC

Hertz Team JOTA wins dramatic WEC race at Spa

Hertz Team JOTA took its first outright win at the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship.  The event attracted a record number of 88,180 fans and was restarted following a lengthy red flag.

The British-based  squad drove the gold-liveried Porsche 963 to the chequered flag after Englishmen Callum Illott and Will Stevens took advantage of well-timed pit stop before a red flag to go out of synch with most rivals.

IIlott and Stevens become the first duo line-up to win a top class WEC race since 2014 and they are the first all-British winners since 2017.  The team’s win today sees the crew catapulted to second in the overall driver standings, 22 points behind Porsche Penske.

Runners-up today were the No.6 Porsche Penske 963 Hypercar driven by Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor – the current championship leaders finishing 12.363s behind race winners, JOTA.

The No.50 Ferrari AF Corse 499P Hypercar of Miguel Molina, Antonio Fuoco and Nicklas Nielsen took the final podium spot, the trio climbing back up the leaderboard following a penalty which saw the crew start today’s race from the back of the Hypercar grid.  The sister No.51 Ferrari AF Corse driven by James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Antonio Giovinazzi finished fourth.

Early race leaders Proton Competition rounded out the top five, with Julien Andlauer passing Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi in the privately-run Porsche 963 in the race’s closing stages.  The No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry crossed the line in sixth place but a five-second penalty for earlier contact with an LMGT3 car saw the crew eventually finish seventh behind the sister No. 8 Toyota driven by Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.

The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye finished eighth overall. Alpine Endurance Team (car No. 35) secured ninth, one spot ahead of the No. 93 Peugeot TotalEnergies Peugeot 9X8 who clinched the final championship point.

During the race’s fifth hour, Cadillac Racing’s Earl Bamber crashed on the Kemmel Straight after tagging the No.99 Proton Competition Porsche of Neel Jani while battling for third position.

Following the lengthy red flag period, necessary to repair armco barriers and catch fencing on the Kemmel Straight after the Earl Bamber/Sean Gelael accident, the race session was resumed at 19:10 local time for a period of 1h 44 minutes that was needed to make the necessary repairs and ensure the track is safe to race.

Next in the FIA WEC calendar is the biggest race of the season - the 24 Hours of Le Mans - which takes place at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe from 12-16 June.