FIA WEC: Toyota wins Red-Flagged 6 Hours of Spa

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The No.8 Toyota of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima en route to victory in the 2019 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. © Rick Kiewiet & Prescott Motorsport Photgraphy

A race where the main character was not a driver, nor a car or an incident, but the weather.

From sunny, to snow in five minutes, back to sunny, to hail, to snow again, and that the whole afternoon; typical weather for the Ardennes.

The snow-shower that started half an hour before the end of the race and brought out the red flag. Toyota won, but not the way they aimed for, with Rebellion and SMP Racing on the podium.

Aston Martin took its second win of the season with local hero Maxime Martin, with Dragonspeed taking the honours in LMP2 and Dempsey-Proton came home another victory in GT Am.

LMP1

The No.7 and the No.8 Toyota’s lead the field through the Bus Stop chicane at Spa-Francorchamps. © Rick Kiewiet & Prescott Motorsport Photography

Right from the start, it was the Pole sitting no. 7 car which took the lead over the sister no. 8.

Mid-race however the car suffered a sensor issue, forcing it to make a pit-stop that lost the car 4 laps to the leader.

The no. 8 didn’t come under pressure from the other competitors and left Fernando Alonso, who was in the car for the fourth and final safety car phase of the day, claimed victory 14 minutes early when the race was red flagged.

Elsewhere, SMP Racing seemed to hold the best chance of finishing second, it was the Rebellion no. 3 who succeeded. Profiting from a later stop than the SMP no. 11, to finish behind the dominant no.8 Toyota.

The no. 7 Toyota moved up to sixth place in the second part of the race and still scoring eight points for the championship.

The no. 8 squad heads to the Superseason finale at Le Mans with a 31-point lead and 39 up for grabs.

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LMP2

The No.31 DragonSpeed car braves the elements at Les Combes. © Rick Kiewiet & Prescott Motorsport Photography.

In LMP2, surprisingly the no. 31 Dragonspeed car with Pastor Maldonado, Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez were the victors.

After being in the midfield for the first three quarters of the race, a mix of good startegy choices and a bit of luck with the safety cars secured victory for the American team.

The no.26 G-Drive car had to settle for second from pole, with the championship leading no. 36 Signatec Alpine in third place.

Racing Team Nederland in the only Dallara impressed early, but couldn’t hold on to their lead after the opening hour.

Following a blistering start of the race, where Giedo van der Garde fought with the LMP1 cars in wet conditions, they dropped off and settled for sixth position.

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GT Pro

The No.97 Aston Martin tiptoes around the circuit as the Safety Car is deployed. © Rick Kiewiet & Prescott Motorsport Photography.

Maxime Martin managed to win his home race alongside team-mate Alex Lynn in their no. 97 Aston Martin Vantage.

The no. 51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi took second and the no. 92 Porsche of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre third.

Initially that place was held by the no. 91 Porsche, but it was handed a 17 second time penalty for causing a collision at the Bus Stop chicane.

Quite remarkably, the whole field except for the no. 66 Porsche finished in the lead lap, showing again how close the GT Pro category is at the moment.

GT Am

The No.77 Dempsey-Proton on entry to Eau Rouge and Raidillon. © Rick Kiewiet & Prescott Motorsport Photography.

Fifth place for Project 1 Racing Porsche 911 RSR, meant they failed to take the title in GT Am.

Their closest pursues are the no. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari, who gained valuable ground in fourth and means the title will be decided at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Meanwhile, the battle for victory was between the no. 77 Proton-Dempsey Porsche and the no. 90 TF Sport Aston Martin.

The fight was decided in the Porsche’s favour in the last hour of the race, with the pair just five seconds apart at the finish.

The podium was completed by the Clearwater Racing Ferrari; their third podium of the season.

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