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SMP Racing Makes It Three In A Row In Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup R5 At Spa (24.09.16)

SMP Racing, with its #72 Ferrari F488 driven by Aleksey Basov and Victor Shaitar made itn three in a row after taking the chequered flag to win Round Five of the new-for-2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

In a close second place was the #88 Mentos Racing Porshe 911 RSR driven by Egidio Perfetti and, taking the stint to the finish, Klaus Bachler.

Third, and taking sufficient points to retain the lead in the Teams Classification was the #34 TF Sport, started by Salih Yoluc and driven to the finish by Euan Hankey.

Hiroshi Hamaguchi in the #55 FFF Racing Team by ACM McLaren 650 GT3 got the advantage on the pole-sitting #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F488 from the start but the race was soon neutralised after a collision between the #66 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Mark Poole at the wheel and the #51 AD Corse Ferrari F488 piloted by Thomas Flohr at T1on the second lap. The resulting safety car allowed the #72 car to close up behind the #55 entry and quickly retake the lead after race went green.

Basov in the #72 car then built up a solid lead which he kept until the driver changes. After the pit-stops had cycled their way through, Shaitar in the #72 entry had a lead of over 3 second on the #88 Mentos Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Bachler. Bachler clearly had the bit between his teeth as he consistently nibbled away at Shaitar’s lead. One small mistake by the #72 car would have seen the #88 entry through.

In a consistent third place was the #55 FFF Racing team by ACM McLaren 650S GT3 piloted by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs. Quaife-Hobbs had clearly found the sweet spot of the car as he put in fastest laps and closed on the #88 car. A late pit-stop for a delaminated left rear tyre put paid, unfortunately, to his challenge for a podium finish and allowed the #34 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 piloted by Euan Hankey through for third place.

Hankey’s final podium spot secured 15 points for TF Sport, allowing it to maintain the lad in the Teams Classification. SMP Racing are, however, only 4 points behind with Mentos Racing just a further 8 points back.

There will be all to play for when the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup arrives in Estoril on October 22 for the final round. Don’t miss it!