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  1. Herberth Motorsport - Porsche 991 GT3 R
  2. Manthey Racing - Porsche 991 GT3 R
  3. Black Falcon - Mercedes AMG GT3 - Yelmer


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Yelmer on the podium in the largest GT3 race in the world


UBBERGEN - The fastest lap of all 72 teams in qualifying, pole position thanks to teammate Maro Engel in the Super- Pole and third place in the race, the largest and strongest GT3 race in the world. Race driver Yelmer Buurman from Ubbergen, Gelderland, could be satisfied after the 71st edition of the 'Total 24 Hours of Spa'. Yet he gave immediately after the race increases, which have mixed feelings: "Of course, a podium in this race is very nice, but if you are from the pole position start at different times in the race to have the lead in combat, then you actually go for the win. In the changing circumstances of the race, however, we were just not the fastest here. "


Expectations were high: never before was there such a strong field of participants at the start of the annual 24-hour race on the circuit of Spa- Francorchamps in the Belgian Ardennes. No fewer than 72 cars from 11 different brands were registered, including 36 cars in the Pro class, all of which were in principle eligible for the overall victory. In addition to the Blancpain GT Series, the race in Spa also counted for the Intercontinental GT Challenge. "It wasn't just about the final result, because points were also awarded for the championship after six and twelve hours, so the right strategy was very important," Yelmer explained.


He shared the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the German Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon with the two Germans Maro Engel and Luca Stolz , with whom he won the champion title in the Endurance Cup of the Blancpain GT Series last year This year the trio was once again one of the favorites.


The race week in Spa began as always with the traditional parade of racing cars from the circuit to the center of Spa for a signature session with all drivers, followed by the driver briefing. Thousands of visitors in the city and along the trail braved the summer heat. "Always very special to experience and beautiful to see how much this event is alive and seems to get bigger every year," Yelmer noted.


Free practice and qualififying were scheduled on Thursday. No easy task at temperatures that reached record values ??above 40 degrees ... Yelmer convinced by setting the fastest time of the 246 participating drivers in qualifying on the 7.004 kilometer circuit with 2: 19.231 minutes. The Black Falcon team qualified for the Super Pole session on Friday evening in which the fastest 20 teams from the qualification were allowed to participate. In the Super- Pole Maro Engel steered the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with the starting number 4 and claimed pole position , the first pole for Mercedes-AMG in the history of the race.


After the heat of Thursday and Friday, the weather changed on Saturday with a heavy rain shower early in the afternoon, which started the race behind the safety car The Black Falcon- Mercedes, executed in striking Japanese 'manga' design and one of the eye-catchers in the field, maintained the entire race neatly in the leading group. "Soon after the start the weather was dry and Maro , who drove the start, came in 19 round in for dry tires. It then remained until midnight dry and cruised steadily our laps , although there was always safety car manufacturing levels and full-course- yellows said Yelmer .


During the night it rained more and more, after which the race management decided to interrupt the race at 5.45 am because the rain and the risk of aquaplaning had made it too dangerous. The game was not resumed until 11.3 am. Yelmer's all- round duel with Porsche driver and eventual winner Michael Christensen on Sunday afternoon was one of the absolute highlights of the race. "Yes, that was nice," he said. “If you ride on such a circuit with professional riders, then you know how far you can go, also with 200 plus dives side by side into the corner. That's always nice. "


After that there were still some showers and under those circumstances it turned out that the Mercedes was just not fast enough for the win. Thus, Yelmer and his teammates behind two Porsche classified as a third party. Yelmer was also the best Dutchman in the result of the competition.


"It was a mega-tough race, very competitive," he said afterwards. “The entire team, including the drivers, did a great job. No mistakes, no penalties, no problems, so that in itself is worth a price. During my night stint on a wet track we were definitely the fastest! If it is in the final phase also was really wet, we had a good had a chance, but on a dry track and under varying conditions we got a little speed deficit. "


In the standings of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Yelmer and his teammates Maro Engel and Luca Stolz are now in second place, 22 points behind the SMP-Ferrari team. "The title defense will be difficult, but of course we will do everything for it in the last race," he announces. The final race of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is on September 29 at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.


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