Duncan rose to the challenge of his first-ever 24 hour endurance race with a successful assault on the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa, the fourth round of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
The champion single-seater racer has established himself as one of the best sports car drivers in the business since his switch two seasons ago, but this was his first opportunity to race through the night.
The event was also the first 24-hour race for the all-new Continental GT3 race car, which showed it has great potential in the discipline with both cars finishing strongly in the top 20.
Duncan’s #8 machine suffered misfortune early in the race with team mate Antoine Leclerc involved in a small collision on the second lap, damaging the front left track-rod. A 15-minute pit stop to fit a replacement cost six laps, with Leclerc re-joining the race in last place, P61.
However the Bentley Boys were undeterred and, over the course of the next 18 hours, they guided the car steadily up through the rankings, avoiding all of the on-track incidents, to sit P16.
From that point and for the last six hours of the race, Duncan, Leclerc and Jerome d’Ambrosio were able to strengthen their midfield position through good race strategy, consistent pace and very quick pit stops to take the chequered flag in 17th place of 61 starters, a remarkable feat considering their early woes.
Duncan said: “The race was a real challenge and incident-packed, so it was really all about maintaining a fast consistent pace while trying to stay out of trouble.
“There were quite a few nasty crashes out there so we really needed to keep our wits about us, especially during the night, and that’s what we managed to do. The majority of the drivers thankfully walked away unhurt but, to the few not so fortunate, I’d like to express my best wishes for a fast and full recovery.
“From the team’s point of view, the M-Sport boys did a fantastic job as usual and the Bentley Continental GT3 has once again proven its competitiveness and reliability. A big thank you to everyone at Bentley and M-Sport and to my team mates, Jerome and Antoine. I’m already looking forward to the next round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at the Nurburgring.”
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