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Audi Sport Team WRT leads Total 24 Hours of Spa as four-hour mark approaches

27 July 2019

The #1 Audi Sport Team WRT car led the Total 24 Hours of Spa as the four-mark approached after benefiting from penalties for the #998 Porsche and #563 Lamborghini.

Two lengthy full-course yellow periods restricted competitive running between the hours of six and eight. The first, which lasted for over an hour, was necessitated by a heavy accident for the 3Y Technology machine of Jean Paul Buffin. The #37 BMW veered into the barriers on the approach to Les Combes, causing significant damage to the car and the safety barrier.

While track workers repaired the damage, Buffin and a marshal were transported to the medical centre. Both escaped serious injury, though Buffin will remain under observation.

Nick Tandy led the field away when racing resumed. The #998 ROWE Porsche had moved into top spot by taking its joker pit stop early in the full-course yellow period, vaulting it to the head of the pack. The #999 Mercedes-AMG GruppeM entry used the same tactic and was close behind the British driver, with Michael Christensen third in the #20 GPX Porsche after replacing Kevin Estre.

The green flag period did not last long, however, as another crash brought the yellow flags out again. On this occasion it was due to the #31 Team Parker Bentley of Ryan Ratcliffe, which made heavy rear contact with the tyre barriers at Paul Frere. The driver was able to climb from the car unaided, but the Bentley was out on the spot.

Tandy led the field once more when the race went green, but was almost immediately hit with a drive-though penalty for setting his best sector time under a double yellow flag. This should have promoted the #563 FFF Lamborghini into the lead, but this car also took a penalty after being found to have overtaken in the pit lane. Both now find themselves well down the order.

As such, the #1 Audi Sport Team WRT machine led in the hands of Robin Frijns. The #72 SMP Racing Ferrari ran second, with the #519 FFF Lamborghini completing the top three.

Follow full coverage of the race here.

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