|Audi Sport Team Phoenix at Spa.
First it was the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring, then the 24 Heures du Mans, now, Audi have added the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa to their tally of endurance wins in 2012. In Spa it was thanks yet again to the Audi R8 LMS Ultra which took the top spot in Germany, this time in the hands of the Audi Sport partner team, Phoenix Racing who battled for victory with the WRT run defending champion Audi and the BMWs of Vita4One and Marc VDS. At the end of the twice-round-the-clock race, which has been part of the Blancpain Endurance Series since the SRO run championship was formed last year, the #16, #1 and #66 cars were the only runners still on the lead lap.
The victorious trio of Frank Stippler, rene Rast and Andrea Piccini fought mainly with the defending champion car, until the Belgian Audi Club WRT machine was clocked for unsafe pit entry. That took Stephane Ortelli out of contention in the dying minutes of the race.
The pole wining Vita4One machine took the final podium spot in the overall and Pro ranking. Having lost the top spot early on, Frank Kechele, Mathias Lauda and Greg Franchi worked hard to get back on the lead lap. Having taken the lead lap back though, they were not able to contest for the win effectively.
Good news came for the Marc VDS #3 car in the form of winners points at the six hour mark, which is a feature of the Blancpain Endurance Series blue riband event. They took points for fourth place at the end of the race, their third place points usurped by the single race entry of GT1 World Championship entrant, Vita4One.
Pro-Am went to the four driver line up of Niek Hommerson, Luis Machiels, Andrea Bertolini and Pier Guidi Alessandro and their Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. The AF Corse entry put the Pro entry of Marcel Fassler, Tom Kristensen and Andre Lotterer between themselves and the #8 Porsche 997 of the Haribo Racing Team which had the #10 Ferrari behind it on the same lap at the end of the race.
A much bolstered Gentleman's Trophy class was taken by Steve van Bellingen, Bert Redoint, Armand Flumal and Johan Vanloo in the #25 Porsche. The French entered Dodge Viper picked a great race to actually make the finish, placing second in the big race of the year. The first GTR Audi LMS, that of Philippe Marie, Robert Hissom, Pierre Hirschi and Jerome Demay took third place.