A cunning strategy call and a heroic late driver has seen Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Laurens Vanthoor win in enthralling Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The result is Porsche’s second successive triumph and seemingly appeared from nowhere as the race-winning ROWE Racing No.98 started 20th on the grid.
The team were well down on the field across the opening six hours, only gaining positions as several front runners suffered race-ending incidents.
Pole-sitters Raffaele Marciello, Felipe Fraga and Timur Boguslavskiy were comfortably in the lead before a brake issue had the team retire the car for good.
Then the newly promoted leads of the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan crashed at Raidillon just an hour later.
The leading Audi Racing R8 also ran into drama when Kelvin van der Linde made an unscheduled pitstop after complaining of a loss in power. The team identified a drivetrain as the culprit but subsequently retired from the race.
However, it would be a wise decision to pit Bamber for a top-up of fuel under caution at the seven-hour mark that vaulted the Kiwi into the provisional lead.
The team then remained in the duel for the win as shattered showers across the final 12 hours set up for an exciting finishing, one that boiled over courtesy of two late safety cars.
Firstly, a Lamborghini became stuck at Blanchimont, which yielded a Full Course Yellow and allowed Tandy to make a cheap pitstop and to promote himself back into the lead and on a preferred strategy.
Off the restart, Tandy held a narrow lead over Patric Niederhauser in the second Audi Sport R8. But another safety car intervention, this time for a beached BMW, kept the margin stable.
Tandy was able to put some margin between himself and Niederhauser before a leaking gearbox two laps from the finish threatened to derail their race.
Nonetheless, a collected Tandy was able to make it to the chequered flag, four-seconds up on the second-placed Audi.
Third place went to the No.54 Porsche of Sven Mueller, Christian Engelhart and Pier Guidi who executed a crazy overtake at Eau Rouge in the final hour for the last podium place.
Australian GT driver Matt Campbell finished fourth overall as Porsche locked out three of the top-five positions.