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20-hour update: Too close to call at Spa with Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche all in the fight

31 July 2022

With only four hours remaining at Spa-Francorchamps the battle for overall honours at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa was too close to call. 

Much of the 19th hour was spent behind the safety car after a heavy crash for the #188 Garage 59 McLaren. Contact between Miguel Ramos and Chris Froggatt (#93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari) fired the McLaren into the barrier, destroying the front end of the McLaren and necessitating a lengthy repair job. 

When racing resumed there was drama for the #88 Mercedes-AMG, which was spun around by the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Mercedes-AMG driven by Jonathan Hui. The latter clipped Gounon while attempting to duck into the pits and later took a penalty for his error. The Frenchman lost a position to Laurens Vanthoor (#47 KCMG Porsche), but quickly cut the gap and closed on to the rear of the Belgian. Gounon went down the inside at La Source and then got a much better run through Eau Rouge, completing the pass before the cars had reached Raidillon. 

As the pit stops cycled through the #88 Mercedes-AMG took the race lead shortly before the hour. The car was due a stop, though with multiple strategies there was no obvious leader at this stage. As well as the #88 Mercedes-AMG and #47 Porsche, the #98 ROWE Racing BMW, the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari and the #95 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin were all around the lead pack. 

The #99 Attempto Racing Audi was out front in the Silver Cup, though the #30 Team WRT Audi and the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini were still in the fight. The #83 Iron Dames Ferrari was unchallenged in the Gold Cup, while the #52 AF Corse Ferrari was equally comfortable in Pro-Am. The Bronze Cup was beginning to edge towards the #35 Walkenhorst BMW, which had moved a lap clear of the #20 SPS Mercedes-AMG.