The Dutch-based CUPRA, which started on the front row of the grid, was at the heart of a five-way battle for the outright lead after the green flag was flown, with less than two seconds separating the quintet across the opening 45 minutes. Following the opening sequence of pit stops and two Code 60 caution periods, Red Camel-Jordans.nl has since pulled three minutes clear of its closest rivals and completed 81 laps of the 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the process.
After a strong opening run, the TOPCAR sport by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR DSG (#131, Fabian Danz / Julien Apotheloz / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Antti Buri / Mikel Azcona) has worked its way up to 2nd overall from 7th on the grid. Further back, the Holmgaard Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#2, Magnus Holmgaard / Jonas Holmgaard / Roy Edland / Rowan Shepherd) currently rounds out the top three and holds the AM class lead after a quietly efficient run through the field from 11th.
The AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#8, Stephane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Stewart Lines / Mathieu Detry) is 4th overall on the road and is your PRO/AM class leader. The Bas Koeten Racing Audi RS LMS meanwhile (#125, Alex Au / Eric Lo / Eric Kwong / Kevin Wing Kin Tse) had looked comfortable in 5th, but was inadvertently punted off-track shortly before the fourth hour. The position subsequently went to the DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR (#308, Aurélien Comte / Teddy Clairet / Julien Briché), which has so far set four of the event’s nine fastest laps so far, while the Audi has dropped to 9th.
The Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#110, Peter Fahlström / Stefan Nilsson / Mats Olsson / Marcus Fluch) is the second highest AM entry in 6th place, just ahead of the Viper Niza Racing CUPRA TCR (#65, Douglas Khoo / Dominic Ang / Melvin Moh / Fariqe Hairuma) and the Teamwork Huff Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#852, Alex Hui Ka Tai / Sunny Wong Yat Shing / Paul Poon Tak Chun / Samuel Hsieh).
Heavily involved in the early battle for the lead, the Vmax-Engineering Opel Astra TCR (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Steven Cho / Jon Miller) fell back through the field during the Code 60 caution periods. The only Opel Astra in the field though is still circulating in 10th.
Regrettably the race is already over for the pole sitting NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR (#175, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Jaap van Lagen / Christiaan Frankenhout). Significant damage was caused when Harry Hilders hit the tyre barrier on the exit of Raidillon shortly after the first hour, forcing the CUPRA to be withdrawn. Fortunately Hilders emerged uninjured.
The TCR SPA 500 will continue uninterrupted until the chequered flag flies at 15.00 hrs local time or when 500 laps have been reached. Live timing and live streaming of the race in HD quality with commentary by radiolemans.com will be available on the series’ website. The streaming will also be uploaded on the series’ Youtube channel. Regular updates will be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found at www.24hseries.com and www.tcrspa500.com.