Spa 24 Hours: #46 Marc VDS BMW Z4 wins with Catsburg/Paltalla/Luhr

The factory-supported Marc VDS squad claimed a first Spa 24 Hours victory for BMW since 1998 with the Z4 GT3 driven by Nicky Catsburg, Markus Paltalla and Lucas Luhr

Spa 24 Hours: #46 Marc VDS BMW Z4 wins with Catsburg/Paltalla/Luhr

The BMW trio triumphed over the WRT Audi R8 LMS shared by Frank Stippler, Nico Muller and Stephane Ortelli by a lap at the end of a race interrupted by heavy and prolonged rain early on and no fewer than 10 safety-car periods.

The winning Z4 took to the front of the double-points Blancpain Endurance Series race after playing catch-up from earlier delays, the result of the wrong tyre choice in wet conditions and a penalty for a yellow-flag infringement, shortly after the sister car of Maxime Martin, Augusto Farfus Jr and Dirk Werner retired in the 19th hour with transmission failure.

Catsburg moved past Ortelli and pulled 30 seconds on the Audi driver, before the lead was doubled when the R8 stopped under the green flag and the Z4 during a full-course yellow.

The Audi drivers, who went through the race without a change of brake pads and discs, were unable to respond to mount a bid for a second consecutive victory at Spa for the Belgian WRT squad.

Luhr, who together with Paltalla missed out on victory at Spa last year by just seven seconds, said: "After being so close last year, this is really special; it means a lot."

Stippler, who had claimed pole position for the race, explained that the Audi didn't have the pace of the BMW in race conditions.

"The car was good over one lap in Super Pole, but we were struggling a bit over a stint," he said.

The best of Phoenix Racing's new R8s driven by Nicki Thiim, Christopher Mies and Christian Mamerow was two laps in arrears in third position after the Rowe Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG shared by Daniel Juncadella, Stef Dusseldorp and Nico Bastian, which had led the race for much of the night, retired with engine failure in the final hour.

The AF Corse Ferrari squad claimed fourth and the Pro-Am class victory with its 458 Italia shared by Gianmaria Bruni, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Stephane Lemert and Pasin Lathouras after a trouble-free run.

The Ferrari finished five laps down and one ahead of the fifth-placed Phoenix R8 in which Mike Rockenfeller failed in his bid to add overall victory at Spa to his 24-hour triumphs at Le Mans, Daytona and the Nurburgring.

The car that Rockenfeller shared with fellow Le Mans winners Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler lost time to repairs on Sunday morning after the last-named spun at Eau Rouge and then a series of penalties for exceeding track limits.

Sixth place and second in Pro-Am went to the AF Ferrari driven by Davide Rigon, Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Francisco Guedes.

The two Barwell-run BMWs claimed third and fourth in Pro-Am with seventh and eighth places, its Ecurie Ecosse-entered car finishing just 21s ahead of its Team Russian entry.

Rene Rast, Laurens Vanthoor and Markus Winkelhock, who were bidding for a Spa double, lost more time in the closing stages with gearbox problems.

The car had led in the early stages before Vanthoor crashed shortly before one-quarter distance. Six laps were lost to repairs, but the car was able to recover to the top 10 and ran as high as eighth before dropping to 21st.

Bentley salvaged ninth place from the weekend with the factory-supported HTP Motorsport Continental GT3 driven by Vincent Abril, Mike Parisy and Harold Primat after the two M-Sport entries retired.

RESULT

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 Pro M.Palttala, N.Catsburg, L.Luhr BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW 24h00m53.611s
2 Pro F.Stippler, S.Ortelli, N.Muller Audi Sport Team WRT Audi 1 Lap
3 Pro C.Mamerow, C.Mies, N.Thiim Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi 2 Laps
4 Pro-Am S.Lemeret, P.Lathouras, A.P.Guidi, G.Bruni AF Corse Ferrari 5 Laps
5 Pro A.Lotterer, M.Fassler, M.Rockenfeller Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi 6 Laps
6 Pro-Am F.Guedes, D.Cameron, M.Griffin, D.Rigon AF Corse Ferrari 7 Laps
7 Pro-Am A.McCaig, D.Modell, O.Bryant, A.Sims Ecurie Ecosse BMW 9 Laps
8 Pro-Am L.Machitski, J.Minshaw, J.Cocker, P.Keen Team Russia by Barwell BMW 9 Laps
9 Pro H.Primat, V.Abril, M.Parisy Bentley Team HTP Bentley 9 Laps
10 Pro-Am S.Leonard, M.Meadows, S.Mucke, T.O.-Cole Leonard Motorsport AMR Aston Martin 13 Laps
11 Pro-Am A.De Leener, C.Sbirrazzuoli, R.Giammaria, T.Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 15 Laps
12 Pro H.Haupt, A.Al Faisal, Y.Buurman Black Falcon Mercedes 16 Laps
13 Pro S.Jimenez, F.Fraga, C.Bueno BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil BMW 20 Laps
14 Am B.Simonsen, I.Loggie, J.Westwood, C.MacLeod Team Parker Racing Audi 23 Laps
15 Pro K.Chiyo, W.Reip, A.Buncombe Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan 23 Laps
16 Pro N.Bastian, S.Dusseldorp, D.Juncadella Rowe Racing Mercedes 25 Laps
17 Am J.Haring, D.Konstantinou, F.Schmickler, P.Wlazik Attempto Racing Porsche 25 Laps
18 Pro B.Senna, A.Q.-Hobbs, A.Parente Von Ryan Racing McLaren 25 Laps
19 Am S.Earle, L.Talbot, M.Zanuttini, M.Rostan Kessel Racing Ferrari 26 Laps
20 Am C.Bourret, P.Gibon, P.Polette, J-P.Belloc Akka ASP Team Ferrari 26 Laps
21 Pro L.Vanthoor, R.Rast, M.Winkelhock Audi Sport Team WRT Audi 28 Laps
22 Am E.Orgeval, P-E.Bordet, A.Viron, P-L.Chatin Delahaye Racing Team Porsche 32 Laps
23 Am C.Corten, M.T.Guillot, T.Samon, C.Beroujon Sport Garage Ferrari 32 Laps
24 Pro-Am R.Salikhov, M.Seefried, N.Siedler, S.Vancampenh. Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 33 Laps
25 Pro A.Zanardi, T.Glock, B.Spengler ROAL Motorsport BMW 36 Laps
26 Pro-Am R.Sanchez, G.Paletou, F.Strauss, O.Pla Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan 37 Laps
27 Pro-Am L.Frey, G.Gardel, F.Barth, J.Hirschi Emil Frey Racing Jaguar 39 Laps
28 Pro-Am G.Vannelet, E.Guibbert, E.Cayrolle, G.Lancieri Sport Garage Ferrari 56 Laps
29 Pro S.Gisbergen, R.Bell, K.Estre Von Ryan Racing McLaren 79 Laps
30 Pro-Am A.Al Harthy, D.Lloyd, J.Adam, J.Venter Oman Racing Team Aston Martin 92 Laps
31 Pro M.Martin, A.Farfus, D.Werner BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW 137 Laps
32 Am A.Moiseev, G.Kondakov, R.Ragazzi, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 139 Laps
- Pro G.Venturini, A.Zaugg, M.Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Retirement
- Am M.Blanchemain, G.Lallement, P.Haezebrouck, B.Caccia Sainteloc Audi Retirement
- Pro-Am E.Dermont, H.Hassid, F.Perera, M.Beche TDS Racing BMW Retirement
- Pro-Am A.Vasiliev, M.Asmer, I.Dontje, L.Plato GT Russian Team Mercedes Retirement
- Am J-L.Blanchemain, P.Hirschi, C.Kelders, F.Bouvy Classic & Modern Racing BMW Retirement
- Pro-Am H.Hedman, R.Dalziel, E.Julian, A.Lazzaro DragonSpeed Ferrari Retirement
- Pro M.Buhk, M.Soulet, A.Soucek Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Retirement
- Pro-Am O.Morley, S.Johnston, M.Engel, B.Schneider Black Falcon Mercedes Retirement
- Pro-Am M.Rasmussen, D.Andersen, M.Jensen Insight Racing Denmark Ferrari Retirement
- Pro G.Guilvert, E.Sandstrom, M.Basseng Sainteloc Audi Retirement
- Pro R.Frijns, J-K.Vernay, S.Richelmi Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi Retirement
- Pro-Am M.Koebolt, S.Bottemanne, P.Schothorst, J.Nash Team WRT Audi Retirement
- Pro-Am M.van Splunteren, F.Hamprecht, L.Machiels, C.Schmid Bentley Team HTP Bentley Retirement
- Pro A.Palmer, F.Babini, J.Mul GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Retirement
- Pro G.Smith, A.Meyrick, S.Kane Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Retirement
- Pro N.Verdonck, A.Christodoulou, A.Simonsen Black Falcon Mercedes Retirement
- Pro-Am M.Broniszewski, A.Bonacini, M.Lyons, A.Piccini Kessel Racing Ferrari Retirement
- Pro-Am J.Osborne, R.Ratcliffe, L.Mowle, D.Muller Triple Eight Racing BMW Retirement
- Pro F.Salaquarda, M.Bonanomi, F.Vervisch ISR Audi Retirement
- Pro-Am A.Karachev, K.Heyer, M.Toril GT Russian Team Mercedes Retirement
- Pro-Am P.Witmeur, J-M.Martin, E.van de Poele, M.Duez BMW Racing Against Cancer BMW Not classified
- Pro S.Walkinshaw, M.Plowman, C.Dolby MRS GT Racing Nissan Retirement
- Pro-Am P.Perazzini, M.Cioci, E.Potolicchio, M.Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari Retirement
- Am J.Grogor, K.Ojjeh, O.Grotz, W.Hamprecht Boutsen Ginion Racing BMW Retirement
- Am G.Duqueine, R.Brandela, B.Delhez, E.Clement Duqueine Engineering Ferrari Retirement


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