17:10

2022 24 HOURS OF SPA - Race Report & Full Race Results

After 24 hours watching racing action, 25 hours of writing and 25hours and 1minute thinking about sleeping, I'm doing just that... 

Merci!

15:55

The #2 GetSpeed car of Luca Stolz, Max Gotz and Steijn Schothorst follow home in second to complete a Mercedes-AMG 1-2, some 31secs adrift of the win.

Antonio Fuoco clings onto third place for the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari, crossing the line less than a second ahead of the #55 GruppeM car, Maro Engel getting close to making it a Mercedes podium lockout but settling for fourth.

The #50 ROWE BMW completes the top five, while the sister #98 ROWE BMW is classified in sixth after the KCMG Porsche receives a time penalty that demotes it to seventh.

The #38 Jota McLaren reaches the flag in eighth place, with the #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari and #95 Beechdean Aston Martin rounding out the top ten.

The #46 VR46 WRT Audi completes the full 24 hours, Valentino Rossi getting the honour of driving the LMS evo II across the line to secure 17th place with Nico Muller and Frederic Vervisch

Daniel Juncadella, Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon - AKKODIS ASP AMG Mercedes

 

15:49

2022 24 Hours of Spa WINNER! 

Raffaele Marciello calmly brings the #88 AKKODIS-ASP AMG-Mercedes across the line to win the 2022 24 Hours of Spa to the cheers of his fellow drivers Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella.

15:37

10 minutes to go... and the racing is just as fierce

With fresh tyres on his wagon, Engel has fought his way up to fourth place at the expense of Harper. However, the ROWE BMW driver isn't giving up, the pair briefly making contact on the run to La Source. 

But the GruppeM Mercedes is able to clear the plucky Harper... he has 10mins to make up 7 seconds to Fuoco in third.

Meanwhile, it's all quiet out front as Marciello and Stolz nurse their cars home in first and second, split by 36secs

15:28

The #55 GruppeM Mercedes peels into the pit-lane for its final stop to release de facto leaders AKKODIS Mercedes into the lead and the GetSpeed car into second position.

Where will Maro Engel pop out though from this achingly long pit-lane? 

The #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari sprints by into third place and the #50 ROWE BMW into fourth, with Engel demoted to fifth.

However, he is just a few seconds behind Harper in the BMW with much fresher tyres, with Antonio Fuoco's Ferrari six seconds up the road too.

GruppeM Mercedes
15:25

With 20mins of this race remaining, we are confident to say there will be none of Spa-Francorchamps notorious micro climate hi-jinks with rain.

We did have to leave it until this late to confirm that though, we know what Spa is like

15:22

Rafaelle Marciello is nailing down this 24 Hours of Spa win for the #88 AKKODIS ASP Mercedes team as he extends his lead over his closest 'to the end' rival, the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes being driven by Luca Stolz.

The #55 GruppeM Mercedes still leads but needs to pit - the key unknown for now is where it will pop back onto circuit in relation to the battle between the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari and the fast-catching #50 ROWE BMW.

The #47 KCMG Porsche is sixth but might be about to get a mirror full of BMW once again from the recovering #98 ROWE car, with Nicky Catsburg trying to close up.

The Jota McLaren has returned to track in eighth position, with the last of the lead lap contenders - the #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari - a safe ninth.

15:18

Oooft, Dan Harper just throws in the fastest first sector time of the entire race on the car's 525th lap!

He is chasing down the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari in fourth - seven seconds up the road - and is bidding to be ahead of the #55 Mercedes when it comes out of the pits.

He may be fifth but this is a charge for the podium...

15:17

Still some great battles in the leading positions even at this late stage in the race with the #47 KCMG Porsche in Dennis Olsen's hands is desperately trying to hold onto sixth from #50 ROWE BMW M4 driven by Dan Harper.

Harper grabs sixth and does it in style with an outside pass around Blanchimont... fair play!

In fact, make that fifth at the expense of the pitting Jota McLaren.

15:12

38 minutes remain on the clock and that means we are beginning to cycle through the very final pit-stops

#88 AKKODIS ASP pits from the lead, everything goes to plan and all that is left is for Raffaele Marciello to get out on track to complete the last laps of this gruelling race and - if all goes to plan - complete a maiden Spa 24 win for himself, Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon.

The #55 Mercedes takes over the lead but needs to stop, as does the third place #38 Jota McLaren.

Marciello's closest rival, therefore, is the #2 GetSpeed AMG-Mercedes which can also go to the end... turns out that bolshy battle between Marciello and Stolz earlier on was pretty crucial.

The gap between the two cars is 25 seconds.

#88 AKKODIS Mercedes
14:56

A quick round-up of the class leaders as we enter these final stages...

14:46

Completed: 23 Hours / To go: 1 Hour [15:45 CET)

We are officially into the final hour of the 2022 24 Hours of Spa and we're now starting to whittle down the likely contenders for this victory.

A lot can happen in one hour but the smart money appears to be on an AMG-Mercedes win at the very least. The German car holds down three of the top five positions and because they have slightly different strategies, even if the FCY curve ball is thrown, it's unlikely to affect each of the cars in the same way.

As it stands, the #88 AKKODIS-ASP Mercedes - which has run inside the top six for the vast majority of this race - is the car to chase, with that challenge led by the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes.

With the #55 GruppeM Mercedes in fifth, it will be left to the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari and the #50 ROWE BMW to deny the three-pointed star.

AMG-Mercedes, 24 Hours of Spa

Elsewhere, KCMG is battling hard but now fading in sixth, while the hapless #98 ROWE BMW trio are down in seventh following its puncture having been only a couple of seconds behind the current leader at the time of its issues.

24 Hours of Spa Top 20 with one hour to go
14:15

CHANGE FOR THE LEAD

We've seen many changes for the lead today but very few actually on track... well, it has now happened with 90mins remaining, but not before a bit of argy-bargy

The #88 AKKODIS - fresh from a pit stop - attempted to get the better of the sister #2 GetSpeed car into La Source, choosing an outside line to do so.

However, leader Luca Stolz was in no mood to let Raffaele Marciello through, defending from his stablemate by running him out wide into the gravel on the exit... how rude! 

Maricello continues at the expense of a few seconds but with fresher tyres on his wagon, it is only a matter of time before Marciello gets his man and a lap later at the same bend, the Italian slinks up the inside this time to take the lead.

13:58

It's not ALL lost for ROWE BMW with the sister #50 being elevated up two spots into second place to now lead the chase to Mercedes.

The Daniel Harper, Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse pedalled M4 is 33secs behind, but AMG-Mercedes looks very good in 1st, 3rd and 4th right now

13:55

PUNCTURE for the second place #98 ROWE BMW M4!

Big drama as Nick Yelloly's BMW suffers a right-rear puncture coming into Pouhon. While this is at the latter end of his stint, so it won't affect the strategy so much, the entry has lost a mammoth 47secs to the leader.

Elsewhere, a pit-stop stack up error by the Iron Lynx Ferrari team has lost the third place #71 car 19secs to the front too.

A big couple of minutes for the #88 AKKODIS Mercedes as its two closest rivals lose chunks of time through misfortune in quick succession

13:52

Completed: 22 Hours / To go: 2 Hours [14:45 CET)

We're getting into the very final stages of this 24 Hours of Spa race and it is now when the teams will be deciding which drivers complete the final two hours.

Just five seconds split leader #88 AKKODIS ASP Mercedes - of Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon, just to remind you - and the second place #98 ROWE BMW.

A further 16secs back is the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari, the #50 ROWE BMW is eight more second behind and the #55 GruppeM Mercedes another 19secs back.

24 Hours of Spa order with 2 hours to go
13:49

WHERE'S ROSSI?

It's been very quiet from VR46 as the car circulates in the lower reaches of the Top 20 (17th at last check) with the target now just reaching the chequered flag.

With no trophies to fight for, the team has decided to give Valentino Rossi the honour of the final stint over the last two hours to bring it across the line and complete - hopefully - his first-ever 24 hour race.

EDIT: Rossi promptly runs off on his out-lap at Pouhon... but keeps it out the barriers. Steady, Vale, steady...

13:30

The fight for the podium positions is heating up with the #98 ROWE BMW in the hands of Nick Yelloly - arguably the star driver of this entire race - hunting down the second place #88 AKKODIS AMG-Mercedes just ahead.

In the lead right now is the #2 GetSpeed AMG-Mercedes, 11secs ahead of the aforementioned pair.

Meanwhile, we now have just seven cars on the lead lap after issues for the Jota McLaren, the spin for the #95 Aston Martin and als the #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari

12:56

Completed: 21 Hours / To go: 3 Hours [13:45 CET)

With the #95 Beechdean Aston Martin going a lap down after pitting for quick repairs, we now have 9 potential race winners on the lead lap with just 3 hours now remaining.

The #88 AKKODIS ASP AMG-Mercedes is back in the lead despite its run-in with the Aston, with the ROWE BMWs occupying the rest of the podium positions in second and third.

With three different slightly strategies for the three AMG-Mercedes entries inside the top six, the German marque is looking well placed to have at least one benefit from any unforeseen circumstances in the latter stages of this race.

The VR46 WRT Audi of Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, is in 19th

24 Hours of Spa Top 15 with 3 hours to go
12:29

A HUUUUUUGE moment in the battle for third place

The #95 Beechdean Aston Martin suffers a proper 720-degree spin at the fearsome Eau Rouge after contact between Nicki Thiim and the #88 AKKODIS AMG-Mercedes being driven by Jules Gounon.

The pair went side-by-side coming into the famed corner with the Mercedes on the inside as they entered the first left-hand jink.

With Thiim nudging the Mercedes' door, the light contact is enough to send him into a leery 360-degree spin before sliding across the circuit again, luckily missing a back marker, before spinning again just beyond the kerb.

Thiim continues slowly but is heading for the pit lane.

11:58

And just as we say that, we have a FCY... albeit possibly the shortest one at about 15secs.

Nevertheless. it is enough to shake things up a bit as it came as the ROWE BMWs were pitting, a lap after the leading AKKODIS entry, meaning the Mercedes is forced to slow down to a touring speed, while the BMWs can just do as they would in the pit lane.

The short length means the impact was marginal, but it's a sure sign of what 'could' happen if a FCY was called at the wrong moment an lasted a while

11:51

Completed: 20 Hours / To go: 4 Hours [12:45 CET)

Just four hours of the 2022 24 Hours of Spa now remains and attention is now turning to tactics as teams try to pre-empt when to take pit-stops and complete mandatory driver mileage to ensure they are in the best possible position in the final hour.

With this in mind, the #71 Iron Lynx, #95 Beechdean Aston Martin and #47 KCMG Porsche have rolled an early dice by short stinting and swapping to a different strategy. It has dropped the trio to 8th, 9th and 10th but say, for instance, a FCY pops up again, they will be right back with the pack and poised with potentially fewer stops to make.

In the meantime though, the #88 AKKODIS AMG-Mercedes - despite its low speed spin - has pulled clear in the lead, 27secs ahead of two ROWE BMW M4s.

The #55 GruppeM AMG-Mercedes and #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari complete the top five, with the #38 Jota McLaren and #2 GetSpeed AMG-Mercedes in sixth and seventh, ahead of the risk-taking aforementioned trio.

24 Hours of Spa Top 15 with 4 hours to go
11:42

Here's a question for you motorsport anoraks... what's different about the Spa-Francorchamps circuit this year?

Well, while it isn't immediately noticeable until someone points it out, it is actually a very significant change for both this event and for the likes of F1 when it arrives for the Belgian Grand Prix in August.

The return of gravel traps.

Rejoice! The ultimate stopping tactic that punishes mistakes - unlike run-offs that can offer infinte chances and just beg drivers to push those track limits - we have seen the drivers having to be a little more precise and controlled to prevent themselves from being dragged into the kitty litter.

As for why, the traps have been installed so Spa could secure an FIM licence to host international motorcycle races, which it did earlier this year with its own two-wheel 24 Hours of Spa. 

With F1 expected to drop the circuit from the 2023 calendar, could it open the door for WorldSBK or even MotoGP to return to Belgium in future?

Beechdean Aston Martin
11:23

Data, algorithims and software... way too complicated for me so I won't begin to try and explain a curious little sidebar from AWS (Amazon Web Services), which has had a go at factoring in stops, fuel, general pace to try and predict the Top 5 come the chequered flag in just over four hours time.

It has even predicted down to the margin at the finish... though it seems to just like the 'Number 1'

We'll have to see if it is right, though given it can't predict when someone will crash (we assume, it can't anyway), I would take these with a pinch (or arms full) of salt.

1 - #88 AKKODIS AMG-Mercedes 

2 - #98 ROWE BMW (+11.816)

3 - #55 GruppeM AMG-Mercedes (+1m 11.869)

4 - #95 Beechdean Aston Martin (+1 Lap)

5 - #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari (+1 Lap)

We're just going to call it, this is baloney... 

11:15

With 4hrs 30mins remaining, the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes takes over at the top after pit-stops ahead, followed by the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari and - into the podium positions for the first time - the #95 Beechdean Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Maxime Martin.

It has been a slow rise up the order for the British squad but having stayed on the lead lap during FCYs, it has closed up to the front of the field with every slow down. It is now just 26secs off the front.

Beechdean Aston Martin