Happy hour kicked off early in Spa, with the first hour of the six-hour sprint race! The lead cars all running on full tanks in sub-2 minute laps. Some were keener to get going than others, and both Harry Tincknell in the Jota #38 and Stuey Hall in the #96 Aston Martin being rewarded with drive-thru penalties for jumping the start.
As soon as the LMP1 cars were into lapping the backmarkers, the #19 Porsche 919 in the hands of Nick Tandy broadsided the #91 Porsche RSR of Kevin Estre and carried on nose first into the tyre barrier. The nose was torn off and the car (all corners still in place) returned to the pit box. It returned to the circuit 3-laps down, and a recovery drive ensued. #19 was up to 8th as the hour clocked one.
The #91 RSR of Kevin Estre eventually was penalised for not respecting blue flags and causing the collision. Words will be had at Weissach.
Elsewhere times dropped off and much slipping and locking has been seen for most lead cars. The Toyota cars look best poised for double-stinting. We have seen both Audi cars locking and loosing it a little, and a quite incredible straight on moment for the #17 Porsche of Brendon Hartley, laterly punished by Race Control with a 15-second Stop/Go.
In LMP2 the G-Drive #26 of Sam Bird continues with its Silverstone form/lead, though challenged by the Jota #38 of Tincknell before his drive-thru. The revitalised SARD-Morand’s Morgan-SARDs being the only LMP2’s to show significant chance of challenging the G-Drive cars. The Jota recovered rapidly to 4th in class in the hour and currently runs 2nd in class once again.
Aston Martin at one-hour must have been hoping for any early conclusion to the GTE- Pro and Am Classes as they led both at the turn of the hour. The #99 Hanergy Car of Fernando Rees and #98 of Pedro Lamy respectively holding class honours.