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Spa 24 Hours: Rowe Porsche takes comeback victory after Tandy charge

Gary Watkins
·3-min read
Rowe Porsche takes comeback victory at wet Spa 24
Rowe Porsche takes comeback victory at wet Spa 24

Porsche came from behind on a wet track to win the Spa 24 Hours with the factory Rowe Racing entry driven by Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

Tandy propelled the best of the German team's Porsche 911 GT3-Rs to the front after taking over from Bamber early in the 21st hour of the double-points round of the GT World Challenge Europe.

Tandy was fifth after the race went green with two and half hours to go, at which point he began the charge that took the Rowe car through to victory.

He moved past the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo of Alessandro Pier Guidi after being given a new set of Pirelli wet tyres in the worsening conditions at the start of the 23rd hour.

Tandy then jumped the Attempto Audi R8 LMS of Patrick Niederhauser for second in the pits when they both stopped under full course yellows at the end of the hour.

The Rowe car then took the lead with just over an hour to go from the Sainteloc Audi team, which lost out when it pitted Dorian Boccolacci under the safety car that followed the FCY.

Tandy twice had to get the jump on Niederhauser, who shared the factory Attempto Audi with Frederic Vervisch and Mattia Drudi, at safety car restarts during the final hour.

The Rowe Porsche crossed the line four seconds ahead of Niederhauser despite a transmission problem that reared its head on the penultimate lap.

"I don't know what's happened, but we've split the diff, broken the gearbox or a driveshaft has popped out - there's oil coming out the back of the car," said Tandy, who now has outright victories in the Le Mans, Nurburgring and Spa 24-hour sportscar classics.

"With one and a half laps to go there was a horrendous noise.

"That is the most emotional last stint I've ever done."

Rowe Porsche takes comeback victory at wet Spa 24
Rowe Porsche takes comeback victory at wet Spa 24

The Dinamic Motorsport Porsche took the final podium spot after a dramatic move by Matteo Cairoli on Pier Guidi down the hill in Eau Rouge with just over 10 minutes to go.

The Italian team's Porsche 911 GT3-R co-driven by Sven Muller and Christian Engelhart had made dramatic progress up the leaderboard over the final 90 minutes to seal third place, 24s in arrears of the Attempto Audi (above).

Pier Guidi, who shared the AF Corse Ferrari with James Calado and Nicklas Nielsen, dropped to fifth behind the best of the GPX Racing Porsches driven by Patrick Pilet, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet before the finish.

The Sainteloc Audi that Boccolacci drove together with Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase ended up down in sixth.

The best of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 entrant was the Haupt Racing Team car driven by Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Vincent Abril in seventh.

Its challenge for victory was thwarted by a penalty in the closing stages for causing a collision.

Another Porsche entered by Frikadelli Motorsport for factory drivers Frederic Makowiecki, Jorg Bergmeister and Dennis Olsen took eighth position.

Honda and Bentley filled out the top 10, the JAS run NSX GT3 of Renger van der Zande, Dane Cameron and Mario Farnbacher heading home the K-PAX Continental GT3 of Bathurst 12 Hour winners Jules Gounon, Maxime Soulet and Jordan Pepper.

Pro-am honours were taken by the Barwell Lamborghini squad with the Huracan GT3 Evo driven by father and son Rob and Ricky Collard, Sandy Mitchell and Leo Machitski.

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