As the green flag fell at 16:30 CET, Nico Bastian led the way with a clean double-stint, eventually pitting from the class lead and an impressive P15 as Jack took over for his first hour of driving. Unfortunately, this changeover would give rise to the first of the teams’ challenges, as a faulty gearbox sensor meant Jack was held in the garage for 12 minutes before resuming the race – now 55th overall, 5 laps down and last in class.
In the face of technical hiccups and facing his 24-hour race debut, Jack’s consistency and determination over his stint set the tone for the following 10 hours as car #90 rose through the ranks to within a lap of the class leaders. Jules Szymkowiak now at the wheel at the 13th hour of the race, the teams’ likely return to the class podium was ousted by a competitor’s lapse in judgement.
On Lap 261, a chasing Audi misjudged the gap between it and car #90 ahead braking into the right-left-right complex of Les Combes, colliding hard with the teams’ rear right wheel and sending the Mercedes GT3 careering into the barriers with heavy damage. Unable to retrieve the car for repairs, AKKA ASP Team conceded to retiring from the race at just over an hour before Jack was set to take to the track for his second stint.
Despite the disappointing result, Jack Manchester looks back at an impressive 5 consecutive days of driving with optimism;