A double podium for TF Sport in British GTs flyaway

PUBLISHED 22/07/2019
TAGS BRITISH GT, Aston Martin, TF Sport, GT3, GT4, Spa Francorchamps

TF Sport returned to the top step of the podium after a well-fought battle for the lead at Spa-Francorchamps; their first team GT4 victory since the 2014 meeting at the Belgian track. The team secured a double podium to elevate into third place in the GT4 teams’ championship.

Having qualified on the front row, Josh Price and Patrick Kibble capitalised on the mixed conditions shown on Saturday, while the sister GT4 of Ash Hand and Tom Canning slotted into sixth place.

Ash and Patrick took the start of Sunday’s race and instantly made an impression. Despite starting on the third row of the GT4 grid, Ash bolted into second place by the end of the first lap. Patrick tucked in behind Ash and the duo lapped the famous circuit in tandem, maintaining their positions in the top three.

Unfortunately the #5 McLaren was just too quick, and Jordan Collard slotted in between the pairing, before passing Ash dropping the duo into third and fourth place; where they remained until the pit-stops.

With no success penalties to serve, Tom in the #97 emerged out in second place, while Josh in the #95 returned to the circuit in fourth place and the young guns fought hard to hold their positions until the closing stages.

After putting in some rapid laps, Tom caught the back of the leading #4 McLaren and pressured for the race lead. With a penultimate lap dash, Tom made a move on the McLaren at the final corner but the two made contact. Tom crept out ahead to take the lead on the final lap and as the #4 pulled to the side, Josh climbed into third place and the team took the chequered flag to claim their first ever double GT4 podium finish.

TF Sport have overcome a 60-point gap in the standings to rise to third place in the team’ championship, now with just 17 points covering the top three. Ash Hand and Tom Canning are now leading the Silver driver’s championship, and are sitting third overall, a mere 7.5 points away from the top.

Ash Hand

"I spoke to Nicki [Thiim] before the race and he said to just go out and brake late; we spoke about the race this morning and it was nice to have someone with so much experience to guide me through. So that’s what I did, and it went exactly to plan, and we pulled it off. We came out of the first lap in second place from sixth which was great. The pace in the Aston Martin has been great all weekend. We got held up in qualifying so we weren’t able to show our true pace there, but it was nice to show our true pace in the race and get the result we deserved; and I don’t think we can ask for much more than that."

Patrick Kibble

“The start was pretty good, and we got into the lead straight away, but we got caught up in some of the GT3s at the first corner, and then Ash got an amazing run up the hill and got past us. Then from then on it was about working with Ash trying to chase down the leading McLaren. We also had the McLaren behind us chasing us down, so it was pressure from both sides. I think the pace was really good and I was really happy with the car all weekend. It’s my first weekend at Spa and I think to get on the podium is a fantastic side of what we deserve. We’ve had some bad luck this year, so I think this podium is overdue, but I’m really pleased. It’s also two qualifying front rows for Josh and I, so I think we’ve made great progress and I think we should be really proud.”

After the rain that laced the circuit during Saturday’s qualifying session wreaked havoc amongst the GT3 field, TF Sport secured two top 10 finishes in race seven of the British GT Championship.

Qualifying in P10 and P12 was not the ideal start to the weekend. However, Graham Davidson in the #47 had his head down from the very start, and soared up to fourth place on the opening lap. Mark Farmer also progressed up the field at the first corner, but was forced wide avoiding a lap one incident at Les Combes between the #69 Lamborghini and the #31 Bentley. He ultimately ended the first lap in ninth place.

Having established some rhythm, Mark caught the back of the #8 Mercedes of Richard Neary and looked to challenge for eighth place but was hit into a spin at Les Combes to drop back into 10th.

As the #6 Mercedes ran off the track, Graham graduated into the top three with Mark re-joining the top eight. But the Scotsman made contact with the #33 Porsche, resulting in a penalty.

Unfortunately, Mark tangled in a four-car battle at Eau Rouge trying to overtake the #18 which dropped him into P11 before handing the car over to Nicki. The #2 – with no penalties – returned to the circuit in ninth place, with Nicki on a pursuit of points.

Despite the success penalty - and an additional drive-through penalty for the earlier contact - the #47, with Jonny now at the wheel, came out of the pits in fifth place.

Within two laps, Nicki had set the fastest lap of the race with a 2:21:406 and swiftly moved into the top eight before tagging onto the back of the #8 Mercedes with Adam Christodoulou at the wheel. With the sister GT3 struggling with brakes, the Mercedes jumped ahead with Nicki following suit, dropping Jonny from fifth to seventh place.

In the #2 however, Nicki had finally made a move stick on the #8 through Eau Rouge to move into the top five. Jonny crossed the line in eighth place, to secure a pair of top 10 finishes for TF Sport in Belgium. 

Mark Farmer

"We knew it was going to be one those races where you just needed to stay out of trouble, and unfortunately that didn’t happen. I got caught up in the first lap incident which forced me wide and lost us positions. Then I was making up places and got to Richard [Neary] and the contact spun me round and that lost me another position. But the car felt good and I made up some positions and repassed Richard before I handed over to Nicki; who drove spectacularly to get us to fifth which is some good points for the championship."

Graham Davidson

"We managed to make up some good positions at the start, and I got up to fourth from 10th which was good. Then I managed to get up to third and it was quite steady from there with some consistent laps, but there was some light contact with the Porsche which gave us a penalty, which was unfortunate. We then dropped back from third to fifth and then Jonny was suffering with the brakes in his stint which dropped us to 10th which wasn’t ideal or what we wanted but we did get some points which is a positive."

TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier 

"I think it was a bit of a lost opportunity with the GT3s. Graham did really well after such a difficult qualifying, to have done such a great job to promote into the top three early on. Then he had the contact which got the penalty and ultimately Jonny was then suffering with the brakes overheating. Mark drove fantastically, the best he has done all year, but was unlucky with his incidents, but then Nicki made some impressive overtakes in his stint to get fifth in the end, which is some good championship points. I’m very happy with the GT4s and it couldn’t have gone better. They had strong pace all weekend and after some bad luck this year, it’s excellent to have them both get a deserved result."