ROWE Racing tops opening practice session at Spa-Francorchamps with #998 BMW

ROWE Racing tops opening practice session at Spa-Francorchamps with #998 BMW

Two-time overall winner ROWE Racing paced the first full-field session at this year's CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa with its #998 BMW. 

Free Practice got underway at 11:20 local time, beginning an especially busy day of track activity at Spa-Francorchamps. BMW factory driver Dan Harper posted a 2m18.186s at the wheel of the #998 machine, edging out the #99 Tresor Orange1 Audi of Alex Aka by 0.169s. 

Julien Andlauer was third in the #92 Manthey EMA Porsche, 0.404s shy of the pace-setting BMW. Marvin Kirchhöfer completed the top-four in the #159 Garage 59 McLaren, lapping 0.466s off Harper's benchmark. 

Aka was also the best of the Silver Cup runners, finishing 28 places ahead of his nearest class rival. Ben Barker paced the Bronze Cup in the #55 Dinamic GT Huber Racing Porsche, finishing a strong fifth on the overall leaderboard. The #9 Boutsen VDS Audi was the best of the Gold Cup runners in P10, while Chaz Mostert led Pro-Am in the #75 Sun Energy1 Mercedes-AMG in 13th. All 70 cars entered in this year's event ran during Free Practice  

The session began inauspiciously, with two red flags within the first 20 minutes, but remained green for the remainder. The first stoppage was caused by Niklas Krütten spinning the #30 Team WRT BMW at Raidillon, though the German driver avoided contact and was able to return to the pits under his own steam. 

The second red flag was caused by Arthur Rougier, who found the gravel at the Bus Stop. However the #888 CSA Racing Audi, unlike the aforementioned Team WRT BMW, was able to post a representative time later in the session. The #38 ST Racing with Rinaldi Ferrari and #33 Bullitt Racing Aston Martin also completed limited running, though both cars did make it on to the track. 

Activity resumes at 18:10 with a one-hour Pre-Qualifying session. This is followed at 21:20 by Qualifying, which decides tomorrow's 20 Super Pole contenders and locks in grid positions 21 through 70. The day concludes with Night Practice at 23:10.

Pre-Qualifying will represent the first session to be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel.

> Free Practice Result