Ten Safety Cars in rain-lashed Spa 24 Hours

Weekend Racing Wrap

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The annual 24 hour race at Spa-Francorchamps was badly affected by rain, leading to no fewer than ten Safety Car periods.

The inclement weather also forced the supporting Formula Renault 2.0 NEC championship to abandon their second races of the weekend after just three laps behind the Safety Car. Catch up on all the weekends action below.


Round 20: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Kyle Busch became the first driver in eight years to win three consecutive NASCAR races by claiming victory in the Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch held on after a last-lap restart to beat Joey Logano to the flag.

Next race: Pocono Raceway (2nd August)

Guest series

GT Series

Round 8: Spa 24 Hours

The Spa 24 Hours was held in very tricky conditions, with heavy and prolonged rain early on. A pair of McLarens headed the 57-strong grid but the race was won by the Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 shared by Nicky Catsburg, Markus Paltalla and Lucas Luhr.

They beat the WRT Audi of Frank Stippler, Nico Muller and Stephane Ortelli by a lap, having caught back up from earlier delays including the wrong tyre choice in the early wet conditions and a penalty for a yellow flag breach shortly after the second Marc VDS car driven by Maxime Martin, Augusto Farfus and Dirk Werner suffered transmission problems in hour 19.

Catsburg passed Orteli and gained a 30 second lead, which extended to a full minute when the BMW benefitted from pitting during one of the many Safety Car periods while the Audi had to pit in green flag conditions. A further lap back in third was the brand new Audi R8 LMS of Christian Mamerow, Christopher Mies and Nicki Thiim for Phoenix Racing, while in fourth was the best Pro-Am lineup of Stephane Lemeret, Pasin Lathouras, Alessandro Pier Guidi and former Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni, driving for the AF Corse Ferrari team.

Alessandro Zanardi made his first start in a 24 hour race but the ROAL Motorsport BMW he shared with DTM duo Timo Glock and Bruno Spengler expired with less than an hour to go.

The best Amateur line-up was Team Parker Racing Audi, finishing 14th overall with Benny Simonsen – the brother of the late Allan – Ian Loggie, Julian Westwood and Callum MacLeod.

Next race: Algarve, Portugal (6th September)

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC

Round 4: Spa, Belgium

Louis Deletraz has been piling up the wins for Josef Kaufmann Racing this year but he’s unlikely to claim an easier victory than he did in race two at Spa-Francorchamps. Having taken pole position he only needed to lead the field around three sodden laps of Spa behind the Safety Car before the race was abandoned and half points awarded despite no racing having taken place.

In race one local driver Max Defourny converted pole position into victory whiel Deletraz could only manage fourth behind Kevin Jorg and Callan O’Keeffe. Deletraz therefore leads the standings by 46 points over Jorg.

Next race: TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands (1st-2nd August)

Also last weekend

Sebastian Vettel won a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix as Mercedes failed to get a car on the podium for the first time since Brazil 2013.

Runaway GP2 championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne failed to win a race for the second weekend in a row, though he did follow home rookie team mate Nobuharu Matsushita in the sprint race for the Japanese driver’s maiden win. It was a good weekend for the rookies as Alex Lynn took victory from pole after sublime calls from his DAMS team in both qualifying and the race.

Nonetheless Vandoorne leads the championship by 85 points from Rio Haryanto after a poor weekend for previous closest challenger Alexander Rossi.

Luca Ghiotto took his third pole from four attempts in GP3 qualifying, and converted that into victory for the second time this season. Kevin Ceccon made the most of reverse grid pole in race two to win. Second in both races leaves Esteban Ocon third in the championship, two points behind Marvin Kirchhofer and 25 behind leader Ghiotto.

Video highlights of these races not available.

Over to you

Did any racing you saw this weekend catch your eye? Let us know in the comment below.

Despite the fact we’re now into F1’s summer break, the action picks up next week with IndyCar, World Rallycross, Euro F3, DTM, Australian V8s and NASCAR.

Thanks to @mathers for contributing to this article.

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8 comments on “Ten Safety Cars in rain-lashed Spa 24 Hours”

  1. @keitcollantine

    Kevin Ceccon made the most of reverse grid pole in race two to win.

    Erm…no. He started second, having finished seventh in the previous race. It was Antonio Fuoco who had started on reverse grid pole.

      1. @wsrgo – Oops, that’s my mistake! I’d only watched it that morning as well. The chaotic Grand Prix must have messed with my mind!

  2. Did not see as much of the 24Hs as I had liked but what I saw was good. Everytime though when I came back I had to settle with the disappointment the #1 had dropped places again. With the lack of Porsches I still am an avid supporter for Audi but above all I want Belgian teams and drivers to win here. MarcVDS is something Belgians should be proud of, as is WRT.

  3. FlyingLobster27
    27th July 2015, 19:51

    It was inspiring to hear Alex Zanardi’s voice again. Interviewed after his final stint, he was really chirpy, explaining how hard it was yet how he’d love to do it again (but not next year because it’s Paralympic year!), praising his team and his team-mates, Glock & Spengler who are rather new to long distance races too… Gutted his car didn’t make it, but still a good result for BMW as Marc VDS finally claim a 24-hour win after years of trying at Spa and the Nürburgring!

  4. @bradley13 The name of Markus Palttala is misspelled on the article.

  5. I watched the end of the Tour de France, slept through most of the NASCAR race then caught myself up on the ChampTruck series (Semis in the USA!). I feel like there were other things I wanted to watch but I was busy reading or finishing up studies to remember them.

    The F1 race was the best of the week, as far as I’m concerned.

  6. I love these articles @bradley13 keep it up :)

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