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ROWE BMW wins 24hrs of Spa, first major win for M4 GT3

Text: Rick Kiewiet

Images: SRO

Philipp Eng, Marco Wittmann and British driver Nick Yelloly have won the 2023 Crowdstrike 24 hours of Spa in the #98 ROWE Racing BMW M4 GT3. A late Safety Car brought the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes of Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavski back in the fight for the lead, but their pace wasn't sufficient to overtake the #98. The #17 Scherer Audi of Nicki Thiim, Kelvin van der Linde and Luca Engstler completed the podium. It was the 25th victory for BMW in the enduro in the Belgian Ardennes and the first major victory for the M4 GT3 since it's debut 2 years ago.

After their qualification outside the top-20 quickly climbed through the field. 6 hours into the race, the #98 was 8th, the race by then led by the #17 Audi. The foundations for the win were laid just ahead of the 18-hour mark, when ROWE decided in favor of an off-sequence pit stop strategy during a short FCY. This made it possible to stop during a later Safety Car phase that brought the car to the lead. In the final hours the #88 Akkodis Mercedes successfully undercut the #17 Audi but seemed too far behind the leader to pose a threat. Even the late Safety Car half an hour before the finish couldn't help Marciello pass Eng who steered the #98 to ROWE's third win in the 24 hours of Spa.

More British success as the #5 Optimum McLaren 720s won the Gold Cup in the hands of drivers Sam de Haas, Tom Gamble and Dean MacDonald. They finished a lap ahead of the #30 WRT BMW of Simmenauer, Williams and Krütten on p10.

The win in the Silver Cup was a well made out case, Schmidt, Hites and van Berlo dominated the race in the #85 Grasser Lamborghini and finished well ahead of the runner up, the #12 ComToYou Audi of Sam Dejonghe, Loris Hezemans, Lucas Legeret and Finlay Hutchison.

The pole sitter, the #20 Huber Porsche of Matteo Cairoli, Antares Au, Tim Heinemann and Jannes Fittje won the Bronze Cup just ahead of the #911 Pure Rxcing Porsche of Alex Malykhin, Joel Sturm, Marco Seefried and Klaus Bachler.


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