Spa 24 Hours: Top six Mercedes entries handed double penalties

The Mercedes entries that locked out the top six positions in qualifying for this weekend's Spa 24 Hours have received double penalties for technical irregularities

Spa 24 Hours: Top six Mercedes entries handed double penalties

The three HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3s, two of Black Falcon's cars and the factory-backed entry from the French Auto Sport Promotion team have lost their qualifying times and each been handed a five-minute stop-go penalty to be taken during the race.

Don't dumb down the Spa 24 Hours

The six Mercs will start from the back of the 20 cars that made it through to the final super pole qualifying session.

The decision by the stewards hands pole position to Laurens Vanthoor in the factory WRT Audi R8 LMS, which ended qualifying more than eight tenths behind original pole winner Maximilian Gotz in the #86 HTP car.

The stewards decision stated that the Mercedes were excluded from qualifying because their "ignition timing does not comply with the homologation file".

The five-mintue stop-go penalties have been awarded for unsporting behaviour resulting from "presenting a car with a technical non-conformity of which the competitor should have been aware".

The penalties are to be served in accordance with the race director's instructions.

It follows a dramatic improvement from the official Spa test day earlier this month by Mercedes: Gotz's pole lap was 1.6 seconds up on the best time set by an AMG GT3 at the test.

No comment was available from AMG.

ISR Audi driver Frank Perera had been eighth behind Vanthoor, but lost his super pole times for a track limits infringement.

HTP driver Gotz had earlier lost pole for a yellow flag infringement.

Perera's exclusion means the WRT Audi will be joined on the front row for the race start at 4:30pm local time by Mirko Bortolotti in the best of the Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3s.

The official grid has yet to be published.

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