Spa 2 Hr Report: Conway leads dramatic opening at Spa for Toyota
No.23 United Autosports leads in LMP2; LMGTE led by ORT by TF Sport Aston Martin.
Below are main headlines are the first two hours of racing at today’s TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Hypercar : Leader – No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing
- Ferrari AF Corse initially run 1-2 but fall back after starting on wet tyres.
- No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hypercar entry driven by Mike Conway eventually controls the first two hours after gambling on slick tyres at start of damp race.
- Conway drives brilliantly in treacherous conditions to come through after initially dropping back as he struggles for grip.
- 2022 Spa Hypercar winner then opens healthy gap over the field until second safety car.
- Cadillac Racing enjoy impressive showing as No.3 Cadillac V-Series.R runs second with Renger van der Zande starting on slicks and capitalising as track conditions improves.
- But it ends in disaster when Van der Zande crashes heavily at Eau Rouge. Dutch ace emerges unscathed from wreckage after a suspected steering issue. Crash triggers long safety car period as three hour mark approaches.
- Laurens Vanthoor in No.6 Porsche Penske 963 also shines in tricky conditions and builds good position after getting his slicks up to operating temperature. He inherits second place after Cadillac accident.
- Sebastien Buemi in No.8 Toyota, cuts through the field from the back of the grid to run third as reigning champion aims to hunt down runaway leader Conway.
- The second of the Porsche Penske entries started by Michael Christensen enjoys spirited battle with Buemi’s Toyota in first hour and runs fourth.
- Earl Bamber also stars in first two hours as No.5 car runs in top three but at two hours places in solid fifth position.
- Of the cars that started on wet tyres the best placed is the No.94 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 driven by Gustavo Menezes which runs in sixth before he hands over to Loic Duval and it slips down the field to ninth.
- The first of the Ferrari AF Corse 499P cars is sixth after No.51 499P driven by Antonio Giovinazzi fights back through as wet tyres overheated in drying conditions and then they struggled to get slicks up to temperature.
- No.50 Ferrari AF Corse driven by Nicklas Nielsen places seventh.
- Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963 with Antonio Felix da Costa is eighth after starting on wet tyres.
- Romain Dumas in Glickenhaus Racing places 10th after Dumas briefly holds a strong fourth in chaotic opening hour but then drops back to 12th after early driver change to Franck Mailleux.
- No.93 Peugeot follows Glickenhaus closely in 11th position.
- Floyd Vanwall loses time at end of first hour after Tom Dillmann hands over to Esteban Guerrieri. Argentinian spins on run down to Eau Rouge but survives and continues as final Hypercar entry.
LMP2: Pole - No.23 United Autosports
- No.23 United Autosports started by Tom Blomqvist dominates first two hours.
- Blomqvist briefly lost the lead to Doriane Pin’s Prema car just before a safety car is deployed for Claudio Schiavoni’s spun Iron Lynx Ferrari.
- Pin again impressive as she fights hard with Sean Gelael driven No.31 WRT car, passing the Indonesian in to Eau Rouge.
- But a flying Robin Frijns pushes through to second position as third hour arrives and Dutch ace starts to apply pressure on leader Blomqvist.
- Pin gives up seat to Daniil Kvyat and the No.63 Prema entry runs third.
- Tight battle thrills large crowd for fourth position as No.28 Jota of Pietro Fittipaldi leads No.41 WRT entry driven by Louis Deletraz.
- Second Prema car driven by Andrea Caldarelli rounds out the top six.
- Disappointment for Vector Sport as Gabriel Aubry retires early after losing left rear wheel.
LMGTE Am: Leader – No.25 ORT by TF Sport
- Ben Keating makes sensational start in No.33 Corvette C8.R to grab the lead, making initial use of his wet tyres.
- But current points leader drops back after switching to slicks.
- This hands lead to charging Tomonobu Fuji in the No.777 D'Station Aston Martin who leads for much of first hour.
- But Japanese racer then receives drive-through penalty for clash with Sarah Bovy in Iron Dames Porsche.
- After second pit stop cycle it is the pole sitting ORT by TF Sport Aston Martin driven by Michael Dinan that holds a 15-second lead over the No.21 AF Corse Ferrari that started from back of grid in a new car after practice accident.
- Penalised D’Station Aston recovers to place third ahead of Lilou Wadoux driven Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari.
- Iron Dames place fifth as they play long game with Rahel Frey having taken over from Bovy.
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