Pole-sitter Sumpter took the lead from the rolling start, with Sean McInerney in the Eclipse Mosler just slightly behind. It’s just a short blast from the start line to the tight hairpin at La Source, and Almo Coppelli, starting Peer Slipsager’s Ferrari 430 from the inside of the third row, saw a clear swathe of tarmac against the pit wall right up to the apex, and powered into it, arriving on the brakes almost alongside the Bayhar-backed Porsche. It’s tight there now, though – very tight on the inside – and as Coppelli struggled to turn the car through the acute radius, the tail wiggling as he laid on a bit too much power, McInerney, Steven Brady’s Prosport, and Pat Gormley in the Topcats Mosler all tiptoed back past him round the faster, wider line.
The plumes of spray from the Paragon Porsche left everybody in the wake guessing , and Sean McInerney got the Mosler’s nearside wheels on the rumble strip as he powered for the climb up from Eau Rouge, the seemingly innocuous spin being just tagged by the recovering Coppelli, the Ferrari careering hard into the barriers, then spinning across the track into the opposite Armco. The situation with the Ferrari was serious, causing the immediate deployment of the Safety Car and the medical team. It was eight long laps, and 38 minutes of the race, before the safety car came in, with the rain now torrential, and the return to racing speed, in very changed conditions, caught some out.
The Class 2 Topcats Marcos had early problems too; traction problems, then faulty lights. Rupert Bullock and Mick Mercer hauled the car back up the order after a rapid interjection from the Topcats pitcrew to make the necessary corrections to the car, but they sadly retired ten laps from the finish with a broken output shaft.
With 20 laps gone, the rain had stopped, and Sumpter began to ease the big Porsche back on terms with Gaw’s Class 2 version, reclaiming the lead on Lap 23, with just over half the race left to run. Behind them, Duncan Cameron had held third in the M-TECH Ferrari 430, but, when he pitted to hand over to Mike Edmonds 25 laps in, the place was taken by Pat Gormley in the Topcats Mosler who was making an impressive return to the Mosler after his outing in the 2008 24hr race at Silverstone, a much needed result and after a disastrous early season, owner Andrew Beaumont had claimed back the car for himself and Caterham mate Gormley.
Second place fell to the Topcats Mosler, a good result at last, thanks to the new partnership of Beaumont and Gormley, and that wrapped-up the Class 1 finishers.
The first Class 3 GT car home was the Ginetta G50 of BTCC drivers Andrew and Mike Jordan. With the track still wet, Jon Harrison did his best to fend off the Class 3 Porsche of Jay Shepherd who had a better equipped car with traction control and ABS to deal with the wet conditions but had to concede the runner up position and in doing so was forced to allow thru the more nimble Exige of F1 supremo Adrian Newey/Alistair Mackinnon, leaving the Neil Huggins/Jon Harrison car to claim 4th in class but still leading the class championship overall.