One of Ruedi Eggenberger’s works Ford Sierra R5500s finally defeated the BMW hordes to win Europe’s most prestigious touring car race on July 23, when Win Percy, Gianfranco Brancatelli and Bernd Schneider came from behind to take the chequered flag in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The winning car finished eight laps ahead of Schnitzer Motorsport’s M3 driven by Roberto Ravaglia, Altfrid Heger and Fabien Giroix after a misfire cost the latter the lead with three hours to go. As a consolation, a combination of this result and its Nürburgring 24 Hours victory in June won the team the European Community Challenge, a title inaugurated by FISA to at least partly fill the gap left by the cancellation of the European Touring Car Championship.
The race had earlier been led by the pair of similar BMWs entered by the Bigazzi team, until one was crashed by Olivier Grouillard and the other suffered an electrical failure. The second Eggenberger Sierra, driven by Frank Biela, Eddie Joosen and Thomas Lindstrom, finished third. A major focus of attention was the return to racing of 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg, driving a Ferrari Mondial entered by Moneytron in Group N. The car suffered numerous delays, but left the pits for the end of the race, tithe classified fortieth and final finisher out of the 68 starters.
Rosberg also took part in a one-off “Belgium v The Rest of the World” match race against Bertrand Gachot, both in identical Ferrari F40s, and won when the Onyx F1 driver spun at the chicane.