LIVE STREAMING for the 2016 Total Spa 24 Hours, round four of this year’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Whoa boy, that decision had to sting.
Qualifying and Superpole for the 2016 Spa 24 Hours suggested the Belgian endurance race would be a walk in the park for Mercedes, with the AMG GT3 sweeping the top six spots on the grid, Clemens Schmid, Luciano Bacheta and Indy Dontje in the #85 HTP Motorsport entry taking the top spot by just 0.09s from #88 teammates Felix Rosenqvist, Renger van der Zande and Tristan Vautier. Then came the call just hours before the green flag.
ECU irregularities meant hefty penalties were doled out for each of the top six Mercs, dropping them to slots 15 to 20 on the grid. If that were not enough of a kick to the piston rings, each of the six cars will also serve a five minute stop and go penalty during the 24 Hours event. The stewards decision caps off a particularly galling qualifying session for Maximilian Götz, Thomas Jäger and Gary Paffett, who had already lost their pole-winning lap time for failing to slow during a caution period. This relegated the #86 HTP Motorsports AMG GT3 to sixth overall before the Mercedes technical infringement was even handed out. Not a good day in the office for Messers Götz, Jäger and Paffett.
Pole position, after a lot of head-scratching, eventually went to Laurens Vanthoor, Nico Müller and René Rast in the #28 Belgian Audi Club WRT R8 LMS, which is joined on the front row by the #16 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Mirko Bortolotti, and Rolf Ineichen. Current standings leader Shane Van Gisbergen, Côme Ledogar and Rob Bell line up 13th in the #58 Garage 53 McLaren 650S GT3, though all eyes will be on the Audi contingent: since 2011, Ingolstadt has failed to take victory at Spa only twice, giving best to the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 in 2013, and the BMW Z4 GT3 last year.
Okay, followed all that? Up to speed? Context nice and clear? Good. Press play below to follow LIVE STREAMING from the 2016 Spa 24 Hours. And as always, click HERE to hear updates and commentary from the Radio Le Mans crew.