BMW Team Marc VDS Finishes Second After Dramatic Race in Belgium

The Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour endurance race that took place this weekend in Belgium was more than challenging for the BMW teams involved, having no less than six safety car periods and a 60-minute interruption that led to a thrilling finish where everyone was out for blood.
Number 77 BMW Z4 GT3 at Spa-Francorchamps 7 photos
Photo: BMW Motorsport
BMW Sports Trophy Teams at Spa-FrancorchampsBMW Sports Trophy Teams at Spa-FrancorchampsBMW Sports Trophy Teams at Spa-FrancorchampsBMW Sports Trophy Teams at Spa-FrancorchampsBMW Sports Trophy Teams at Spa-FrancorchampsBMW Sports Trophy Teams at Spa-Francorchamps
Two BMW Z4 GT3 cars were amongst the top ten by the end, with the number 77 one finishing second, driven by Dirk Werner, Lucas Luhr and Markus Palttala for team Marc VDS, after 527 laps. This was the first finish on the podium for the BMW Trophy Team at home, in the Ardennes.

Unfortunately, the win went to the Audi drivers Laurens Vanthoor, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock that were just 7 seconds faster than the number 77 Z4, this being one of the closest finishes in the history of the Spa endurance race.

The second BMW Z4 GT3 car that managed to claim one of the top 10 spots of the finish grid was driven by Alexander Sims, Oliver Bryant, Andrew Smith and Alasdair McCaig, all of them from the UK, under the ‘banners’ of BMW Team Ecurie Ecosse. Their seventh place overall was doubled by the second place in the Pro-Am Cup in which they were actually competing.

BMW Team Marc VDS was actually leading up until the last 15 minutes of the race but a problem with the ABS module didn’t allow Dirk Werner to hold off the competition on the final stint, losing the leading position in the final laps.

“Congratulations to Marc van der Straten and Bas Leinders' team on its first podium finish at its home race in Spa-Francorchamps. It was another extremely exciting race on this wonderful track – from the first to the final lap,” said Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director.

“Dirk Werner, Lucas Luhr and Markus Palttala didn't make any mistakes. Unfortunately a technical problem with the car just a few hours before the end ruined their chance of overall victory. With a bit of luck they might have managed more. After our bad luck last year at the 24 Hours of Spa we are delighted to be on the podium once again,” he added.

“It was very exciting to drive the closing stint. The team took a gamble in the final one and a half hours of the race and developed a great strategy for the final spurt. However, it was hard to keep up on used tires and with the technical problems. But I tried everything possible,” said Dirk Werner after the race.

“We had a great weekend, but we were fully aware that we would face tough competition. My team-mates Lucas and Markus also did a fantastic job and really pushed. It's fantastic for the team and BMW to be able to celebrate a podium finish,” the BMW Driver added.
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