The German Rowe Racing team led the Spa 24 Hours at one-quarter distance with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG shared by Daniel Juncadella, Stef Dusseldorp and Nico Bastian.
Juncadella moved to the front shortly before the six-hour mark when erstwhile leader Laurens Vanthoor went off at Stavelot corner in his WRT Audi R8 LMS just as the safety car was being deployed.
The Spaniard subsequently brought the Mercedes into the pits under yellows and Dusseldorp was able to resume with a lead of approximately 90 seconds ahead of the Sainteloc Audi R8 LMS ultra shared by Edward Sanstrom, Marc Basseng and Gregory Guilvert.
The first quarter of the race was interrupted by heavy rain and no fewer than four safety-car periods and two full-course yellows.
The WRT Audi driven by last year’s winning trio of Vanthoor, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock moved into the lead late in the second hour and was able to establish a lead of over a minute.
Its advantage over the Mercedes had been reduced to approximately 20s in the sixth hour when only one safety car rather than the usual two was deployed courtesy of a communications failure.
Third place was held by the Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3s driven by Maxime Martin, Augusto Farfus Jr and Dirk Werner, while the two VonRyan Racing McLaren 650S GT3s that had taken turns in the lead early in the race filled fourth and fifth places.