It was a comfortable win from pole for Fran Rueda and Andrés Saravia in the #47 Teo Martin BMW in the second International GT Open race of the weekend at Spa.
At the start, fellow front-row occupant Joel Eriksson (#17 Senkyr Motorsport BMW) found himself lagging in what was almost certainly his first rolling start in a car after his Junior formulae and DTM experience.
Allam Khodair (#16 Drivex Mercedes) and Juan Cruz Álvarez (#3 Teo Martin BMW) both capitalised after Eriksson’s bad start.
Further back, Alessandro Pier Guidi (#51 Luzich Racing Ferrari) spent the early laps surging through the pack after qualifying fifth. First, the Italian veteran dispatched Tom Onslow-Cole (#20 SPS Automotive) for fourth position, with a carbon copy of his lead-securing pass from Saturday’s encounter; he found grip and traction on the outside of Les Combes’ first right-hander to make the move stick.
One lap later, he dispatched Álvarez in the #3 BMW, moving up to third.
After 15 minutes, Rueda led the way by some 3.5 seconds over the PRO-AM Drivex Mercedes of Allam Khodair. This advantage would gradually extend throughout the first half of the race, with Rueda staying out deep into the 12-minute mid-race pit window. In fact, all front-runners bar Pier Guidi elected for a long first stint.
Once Pier Guidi did pit, his teammate Mikkel Mac was subject to a painfully long hold thanks to 30 seconds worth of success seconds added to the base pitstop time of 105 seconds. This would leave the Dane at the fringes of the top ten once he re-joined the race.
After the stops, Andrés Saravia had inherited the leading #47 Teo Martin BMW with 1.8 seconds over Marcelo Hahn in the #16 Drivex Mercedes, though the AM half of the PRO-AM Drivex line-up inevitably fell back.
With 17 minutes to go, Hahn was still second and acting as a cork in a bottle to several PRO class cars. Lourenço Beirão da Veiga was the first by in the #3 Teo Martin BMW with a simple out-braking move at the Bus Stop chicane. He was followed by Richard Gonda in the #17 Senkyr BMW at La Source, after he had passed the #11 RS Racing Ferrari of Andrea Montermini on the previous lap. Montermini also made a move shortly thereafter.
Both Gonda and Montermini looked racey behind da Veiga, but the Portuguese driver would not yield. This allowed Saravia in the sister car to build a gap of well over ten seconds, which would ultimately allow the driver of the #47 to cruise to an easy win on the final lap.
Da Veiga was absolute in his defence of the position, with he and Gonda touching on two different runs down to the Bus Stop in the last ten mins, including on the penultimate lap. Beirao da Veiga cut the chicane on both occasions. However, moments later da Veiga lost out to the #17 Senkyr BMW driver after running out wide at Les Combes, which may have been down to some minor front-end damage on the #3 Teo Martin BMW.
Not only would da Veiga lose out on being one half of a Teo Martin 1-2, but he would also concede third to Montermini on the final run through the Bus Stop. He cut the chicane once again, seemingly trying to get back ahead of Montermini. The attempt would prove unsuccessful, and he would eventually be put down to seventh in the order with a five second penalty for abusing track limits.
Kang Ling (#6 Vincenzo Sospiri Lamborghini) and Giovanni Venturini (#63 Imperiale Lamborghini) rounded out the top five ahead of Mikkel Mac in the #51 Luzich Racing Ferrari.
Bradley Ellis (#96 Optimum Motorsport Audi) beat Marcelo Hahn’s Drivex Mercedes to PRO-AM honours after catching and passing the #16 car with five minutes remaining, while solo driver Rinat Salikhov took AM honours in the #993 Rinaldi Ferrari.
After Spa, Mikkel Mac holds a 12-point lead over Saravia and Rueda in the title hunt, with 66 points to the Dane’s name. Alessandro Pier Guidi is third in the championship with 50 points, despite missing Paul Ricard due to WEC duty in May.
While they are yet to register a class win this year, metronomic consistency has allowed Fabrizio Crestani and Miguel Ramos to lead the PRO-AM championship after three rounds in the #27 Daiko Lazarus Lamborghini. Ramos and Crestani are on 41 points, three clear of Tom Onslow-Cole and Valentin Pierburg (#20 SPS Automotive Mercedes).
In AM, Giulio Borlenghi and Andrzej Lewandowski hold the points lead in the #60 Vincenzo Sospiri Lamborghini. They are also on 41 points, with a six-point advantage over the #9 ARC Bratislava Lamborghini of Miro Konôpka and Konstantins Calko.
The next race will be held on 7-8 July at the Hungaroring.