Toyota takes victory in a wet and chaotic 6 Hours of Spa

Toyota takes victory in a wet and chaotic 6 Hours of Spa

In a hectic, rain-affected race that was red-flagged three times, Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi, and Mike Conway won the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa.

The #7 Toyota driven by  Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway, and Kamui Kobayashi won the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps after three red flags, multiple full course course yellows, and safety cars,

The race kicked off in dry conditions as Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa started the race in the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, while Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa started in the No. 8 sister car.

Buemi, on the other hand, was able to pass Olivier Pla’s No. 708 Glickenhaus 007 Pipo in under an hour, with Conway coming in second not long after.

Later the race was stopped due to a crash involving Miroslav Kinopka in the #44 ARC Bratislava Oreca 07-Gibson. When the race resumed under safety car with the intention of going green, the leading #8 Toyota experienced electrical problems track-side, causing the safety car to stay out longer than intended.

The heavens opened and it started raining while the safety car was out. The #31 WRT Oreca 07-Gibson, unlike the leading LMHs — #7 Toyota, #36 Alpine, and #708 Glickenhaus — did not need to pit again after switching to wets under red flag.

When the race resumed, the #31 WRT seized the lead thanks to a wet weather masterclass from Robin Frijns. In the theoretically quicker class, the Dutchman pulled a significant advantage on the #7 Toyota until another safety closed the distance.

However, in the dry, the #31 WRT couldn’t keep up with the LMHs, and the track dried up, dropping Rene Rast to fourth. After #708 Glickenhaus made a strategy error by switching to slicks too early when they were on for a surefire podium, the Belgian team received a consolation reward of an overall podium as well as a class win. They eventually came in ninth place overall.

The #36 Alpine finished second in LMH and overall, with Mathieu Vaxiviere, Nicolas Lapierre, and Andre Negrao all taking turns behind the wheel. After winning the previous race in Sebring, the French team lacked sufficient speed to challenge Toyota.

The #41 RealTeam by WRT Oreca 07-Gibson of Ferd made it a 1-2 for the Belgian squad in LMP2, headquartered just a stone’s throw from Spa-Franchorchamps, with Sean Galeal, Rast, and Frijns. 

Ferdinand Habsburg, Norman Nato, and Rui Andrade all took turns in the driver’s seat, with Habsburg coming in second. Will Stevens, Roberto Gonzalez, and Antonio Felix da Costa drove the #38 JOTA Oreca 07-Gibson to third place in class.

After the AF Corse-run Ferraris qualified fourth and fifth, last in class, the #51 Ferrari, piloted by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, emerged as the surprising winner in GTE-Pro.

While further stoppages and safety cars reeled this in, the #92 Porsche of Michael Christiansen and Kevin Estre was never able to reel the #51 in, despite being less than a second apart as they crossed the line. The #52 Ferrari of Miguel Molina and Antonio Fucuo finished third, barely tenths of a second behind the Porsche.

Finally, in GTE-Am, Harry Tincknell, Sebastian Priaulx, and Christian Reid triumphed after a close battle with Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves, and Marco Sorensen in the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin, which started on pole but ended second.

The #98 Northwest Aston Martin, driven by Paul Dalla Lana, David Pittard, and Nicki Thiim, was third in class.

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