#117 L'Espace Bienvenue BMW wins after strong surge late in the race
#2 Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport takes important P2 for championship campaign
Pole sitter #42 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi wins Pro-Am and holds on to third overall in a brilliant 5-car battle
#10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche continues perfect season in Am
A relatively uneventful first half of Race 1 erupted in an action-packed thriller after the pit window, resulting in a BMW 1-2 and seeing title contenders in all three categories score big points.
Apart from a strong move by the #24 JSB Competition Aston Martin (Briche/Briche) to take the lead in the very first corner, and the #3 Team Speedcar Audi (Lariche/Consani) having a difficult start and dropping to 7th from P3, the first half of Race 1 did not bring frequent order changes at the front. That was partly due to a 10' Safety Car procedure and the frontrunners delaying their pitstops as much as possible.
All that changed in the second half of the race, when the GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club once again served up a thrilling spectacle. The #117 L'Espace Bienvenue BMW (Lessennes/van der Ende) had managed to make good use of the pit window to move up into third already, and when a second Safety Car brought the field back together with 13 minutes to go, it was all to play for. In an incredible move that lasted from Eau Rouge all the way up to Les Combes, the #117 BMW stormed past both the #24 Aston Martin and the #42 Audi to take the lead in style!
Another BMW, the #2 Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport M4 GT4 of Schrey/Piana also found something extra in the later stages and picked off positions one by one to make it a BMW one-two with just 30 seconds left on the clock. A crucial move for championship points by the #2 BMW!
That left one last hectic lap for a fierce battle over the third and last podium spot between crews in Audi, Aston Martin and Toyota. The #42 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi (Guilvert/Hamon) managed to hold off a raging trio of cars all the way into the final chicane, to take 3rd overall and another all-important maximum score in Pro-Am class. In that same final chicane, the #5 Mirage Racing Aston Martin (Day/Del Sarte) pulled a brave ultimate move on the #8 Xwift Racing Toyota (Potty/Chéli) to grab third place in Silver.
P2 in Pro-Am goes to the #30 W&S Motorsport Porsche (Still/Kronberg) and the #36 Code Racing Development Alpine (Leclerc/Villiger) takes the points for third place in class. Meanwhile in Am class, it was once again solo-runner Alban Varutti who managed to win it from 19th overall in the #10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche. That makes it 5 out 5 for him this season! The pole sitting #55 Autosport GP LS Group Performance Alpine (Hurgon/Ferté) takes second in Am, just tenths of a second in front of the #72 GPA Racing Aston Martin of Jimenez/Grizaud.
Honours for the GT4 Scandinavia ranking in Spa-Francorchamps go to the #290 Toyota Gazoo Racing Sweden Supra GT4 EVO (Skaras/Holmlund) at 16th overall, before the #298 M-Bilar Group Racing BMW (Bouveng/Walde).
Race 1 concludes a busy day at Spa-Francorchamps. The GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club will take the stage one last time at the biggest GT racing event in the world. Race 2 starts Saturday at 13.15 CEST as the final support act to the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa and will be streamed live again on the GTWorld YouTube channel.