Valentino Rossi’s BMW retired after accident at WEC race in Spa

More than 70,000 spectators had traveled to Spa-Francorchamps since Thursday – including huge traffic chaos on race Saturday – to see Valentino Rossi drive in the WEC. But that won’t happen. The motorsport superstar’s BMW M4 GT3 with the iconic number #46 failed before Rossi could take the wheel himself.

On the 33rd lap, after almost two of the six hours of racing, Rossi’s WRT teammate, the bronze driver Ahmad Al Harthy, was involved in a collision through no fault of his own. The GT3 BMW received a push from Phil Hanson in the #38 Jota-Porsche (Rasmussen, Hanson, Button), which sent both cars into the barriers and took them out of the race early.

Rossi-BMW crashes at WEC race in Spa (03:00 mins)

BMW M boss van Meel: “I’m sorry for Valentino”

Coincidence? Just a few minutes after the BMW mishap took place There is space in the paddock for an exclusive interview with the Managing Director of BMW M GmbH, Franziskus van Meel. “I’m sorry for Valentino,” said the performance brand’s boss. “I think he would have loved to drive.”

Particularly bitter for Rossi’s WRT team, which looks after both the GT3 and the Munich-based Hypercar campaign in the WEC: The trigger for this crash was, of all people, BMW works driver Rene Rast in the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8. The three-time DTM champion hit Hanson’s golden Porsche in the rear, causing him to lose control and crash into the BMW M4 GT3.

Rast receives penalty for Porsche-BMW collision

The race management gave Rast a drive-through penalty for this. “Based on the images we currently have, it looks like a racing incident,” said WRT team boss Vincent Vosse, before Rast received the penalty a short time later. “It’s a real shame that two of our cars were involved. In the wrong place at the wrong time.”

A bitter setback for the #46 BMW M4 GT3, which last finished second behind its sister BMW in Imola. In Spa, after the United Autosports McLaren was subsequently disqualified, Al Harthy started the race from second place behind the pink Iron Dames Lamborghini and stayed well in the leading group.

“Bitter,” said the third driver in the #46 BMW, works driver Maxime Martin. “We certainly didn’t travel to Spa to be eliminated after an hour and a half. It’s a real shame because Ahmad did a good job and we could have picked up important points.”

WEC in Spa: Porsche leads ahead of Ferrari duo

The first half of the 6-hour race on the traditional Belgian circuit offered plenty of action. After the first 67 laps, the #99 LMDh-Porsche from Proton Competition (Jani, Andlauer) started the race ahead of the two factory Ferraris with starting numbers #51 (Pier Guidi, Giovinazzi, Calado) and #50 (Fuoco, Molina, Nielsen – started from P19 after qualifying disqualification).

The man in the early stages was certainly Proton driver Julien Andlauer, who took second place on the 6th lap with a spectacular overtaking maneuver against Alex Lynn in the Cadillac. On lap 17, Andlauer stepped up his game when, in a duel with #5 Porsche driver Fred Makowiecki, he passed a GT3 Lexus on the inside, while ‘Mako’ had to choose the outside lane. This spectacular maneuver gave Andlauer and Proton the lead in the 40th minute.

Penske-Porsche retired after accident

While the customer Porsche defended itself against double Ferrari competition, the Penske factory team experienced a setback after three hours: Michael Christensen came off the track at the Blanchimont exit on lap 66 and brushed past the left-hand track barrier at high speed. The early end for the pole setters! This accident triggered the third full-course yellow phase of the race, which had already been interrupted by a safety car phase.

Behind the Proton-Porsche and the two factory Ferraris followed in places four to six: the #6 Penske-Porsche (Estre, Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor), the #83 AF Corse-Ferrari (Kubica, Shwartzman, Ye) and the only Cadillac V-Series.R (Bamber, Lynn) in the hypercar starting field.

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