4-hour update: alternate strategy puts Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini in the lead

31 July 2021

After a turbulent start to the 73rd running of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, the third and the fourth hours of the Belgian endurance classic were mostly incident-free.

Just before the three-hour mark the race was briefly neutralised, when Tim Kohmann in the #11 Kessel Racing Ferrari grazed the barriers at the exit of Speaker’s Corner. The German driver was able to continue, but some teams took advantage of this brief Full Course Yellow/Safety Car period to have a pitstop. The #37 Audi Sport Team WRT (Robin Frijns at the wheel) and the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP (Dani Juncadella driving), the top-2 cars at the 3-hour mark, were not among them, however.

That meant that they had to take their pitstops when the competition was at racing speed, resulting in a considerable position drop for both. That brought the #63 Orange1 FFF Racing Team into the lead, chased by the #38 Jota McLaren and the #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW. The latter, with Timo Glock at the wheel, moved into second at the beginning of the 80th lap, when the Jota Racing machine had to swerve to avoid the 720S GT3 of Inception Racing.

Both would be passed by a strong Nicklas Nielsen in the #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari, which put the car in second at the four-hour mark, some seven seconds behind the leading Lamborghini. Because the top 11 cars – all of them on an alternate strategy after stopping during the neutralisation – all made a pitstop seconds after the four-hour mark, the #37 Audi Sport Team WRT machine moved into the lead again shortly afterwards.

After four hours of racing the leading Silver Cup car was still the #90 MadPanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, with the #52 AF Corse Ferrari using the same alternate strategy as the overall leaders to take the lead in Pro-Am. The Am Cup lead was in the hands of the #23 Huber Motorsport Porsche.