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Comtoyou claims victory for Aston Martin in 24hrs of Spa

Text: Rick Kiewiet

Images: SRO

Comtoyou Racing clinched a dramatic victory for Aston Martin in the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa after a late-race pit lane incident for the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3.

In a race filled with twists and turns, the #007 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo, driven by Mattia Drudi, Marco Sørensen, and Nicki Thiim, emerged victorious. This win marks the first 24-hour race victory for the updated GT3 Aston Martin and the first win for the British brand at this event since 1948.

Heading into the final hour, Ferrari seemed destined for victory, with Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 in the lead. The drying track conditions at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps played into Pier Guidi's hands, allowing him to take the lead after brilliant moves past both Thiim and Harper. However, the AF Corse team’s challenge faltered dramatically when Pier Guidi got stuck at the pit entry, unable to pass the stranded #19 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2. Although the Lamborghini was towed away, the delay cost Pier Guidi crucial time, dropping him to fifth place and allowing the #007 Aston Martin to take back the lead.

Pier Guidi fought back, overtaking the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport Aston Martin and the #96 Rutronik Porsche to secure third place. His relentless push continued, and he soon found himself in second place after the #998 BMW, driven by Max Hesse, pitted to avoid exceeding the maximum stint time, which dropped the BMW to sixth. The #32 Team WRT BMW, piloted by Dries Vanthoor, Sheldon van der Linde, and Charles Weerts, managed to claim third place despite a 30-second time penalty for a Full Course Yellow infringement in Hour 14.

Both WRT BMWs led the after 12 hours, but both faced challenges throughout the second part of the race. The #46 car fell two laps behind after Valentino Rossi caused a three-car accident. The resulting penalty, to which two other incidents earlier were added, dropped the #46 down the field.

The #163 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini, which started from pole, finished fifth after recovering from early fuel rig issues and a mandatory five-minute technical pit stop. The #998 ROWE Racing BMW of Hesse, Dan Harper, and Augusto Farfus finished sixth after a late pit stop, while the Gold Cup-winning #777 AlManar Racing by GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo finished seventh.

The #66 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II secured Bronze class honors with a tenth place overall finish, and GetSpeed claimed double class honors, with the #3 Mercedes-AMG winning the Silver class.

There were multiple heavy incidents throughout the race. The #911 Pure Rxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R crashed and rolled in the 17th hour, while the #22 Schumacher CLRT entry also crashed out. Mercedes-AMG faced setbacks as well, with the #48 Team Mann-Filter Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo retiring after multiple punctures and a multi-car accident. GruppeM Racing's challenge ended with terminal splitter damage, and the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG retired after losing a wheel.

The defending race winners, Philip Eng, Nick Yelloly, and Marco Wittmann of ROWE Racing, experienced misfortune when their #998 BMW retired after completing only 71 laps due to a water pressure issue. As night fell, intermittent rain added to the complexity of the race, making it a true test of skill and strategy.

In the end, it was Comtoyou Racing and Aston Martin who navigated the challenges best, securing a memorable victory in one of motorsport 's most prestigious endurance races.


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