A podium and two pole positions for TF Sport in Silverstone 500
TF Sport enjoyed a successful outing in the Silverstone 500 that saw the team return to the podium and secure their first ever double pole position.
Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson lapped the British circuit in 4:02:720 to qualify at the front of the pack, while Nicki Thiim and Mark Farmer snuck into the second row of the grid; just eight tenths split the sister cars.
Graham and Mark both took to the start of the race, opting to run a long first stint to give Jonny and Nicki a long final run. At the start, Graham maintained the lead of the race and Mark kept in the top five.
It wasn’t to last however and Mark got swallowed up by a pack of cars to drop into sixth; and a knock from the #3 BMW spun Mark into the grass to lose another position, dropping the Vantage into seventh.
After the first pit stops, Jonny emerged from the pitlane in fourth place, with Nicki out in tenth. The duo begun to chase down the leaders and within a handful of laps, the Scottish #47 had moved into the top three as Nicki started setting a succession of fastest laps creeping ever closer to the front runners.
At the half-way point, the team made their second stops with Mark and Graham having a successful short stint, before handing over the Aston Martins to their teammates for their final runs.
As the final stops played out, Jonny and Nicki both circulated the infamous track searching for the team’s first double podium in GT3 this season. Jonny moved back up into the lead as the #6 entered the pit lane and Nicki slotted into fourth place with his eyes firmly set on the #31 Bentley in third.
With the race drawing to a close, Nicki set the #2 up for last-minute success and swung around the Bentley to move into third place. But despite Jonny and Graham’s fantastic efforts to maintain the lead of the race from the start, the #47 was hunted down by the #6 and the final laps saw the two battling for position until a backmarker [#19 Mustang] got in the way to spin the Scotsman out of the race.
What was looking like a double podium in GT3 ultimately ended as ninth for the #47 and a second place for the #2. The result promotes Mark and Nicki to fourth in the championship, while Jonny and Graham slip to seventh.
“What a race! First of all, it’s always a pleasure to come here, thank you to all the fans. This is the first time I’ve seen so many people at a British GT race. We were struggling with pace all weekend with Mark’s off in P1. So we didn’t get out in P2 which lost us a lot of track time and the issues we got in qualifying. We managed the problems in the race too, but I take my hat off to Mark. Because it was not easy in the end. It was a very good strategy call from the team to leave Mark out for that long in the first stint, which gave him a small stint in the middle to push qualifying lap after qualifying lap. In the end I had to push like crazy at the very end and get the job done. I had a fun time with the Bentley with Seb [Morris] so at least we had a lot of fun out there. I don’t know how we finished on the podium, it was a big surprise after the struggles we’ve had this weekend, but very positive for us, I’m very happy.”
“The team have done a good job, the pit stops were good. Graham has driven really well and his pace has been really strong holding off the Mercedes at the start. Then towards the end, there was a car driving around on its own and the two of us [#6] came up to it [#19] and unfortunately, we lost out massively, he just didn’t see me at all and it caused us a lot of damage with us not finishing the race. It’s a shame because the win was on, but this is probably the lowest point I’ve been in a while, but on to the next one.”
In British GTs record entry field, the Silverstone 500 was never going to be easy for the GT4s. But on the back of Tom Canning and Ashley Hand’s podium in Snetterton gave a new wave of momentum to the team coming into the weekend.
Josh Price and Patrick Kibble secured their first ever pole position in the series and for the team, and sat proudly at the front of the GT4 grid for one of the most famous races in the championship. Tom and Ash settled for eleventh overall but knew the race was all to play for.
Josh and Ash took the GT4 Vantages at the start of the race and avoided getting tangled up in any first lap chaos. In the #95, Josh maintained the race lead whilst Ash had promoted the #97 into sixth.
After the first round of pitstops, the #95 earnt a drive-through penalty for a time infringement. Patrick emerged back in second place, thanks to the stellar gap that Josh had created before the stop.
Tom begun moving up the order having passed the #75 Aston Martin to move up into fourth place. At the half-way point both GT4s were circulating in tandem before making their second stops.
Unfortunately, another pitstop infringement meant the #95 had to serve another penalty with a pit timer issue in the car. But confusion in the pitlane meant the team had taken the wrong penalty enforcing another and ultimately Josh returned to the race down in P16 and well out of contention.
Ash had moved up to sixth place from the back of the top ten after setting some rapid laps late on. Patrick and Tom ran the GT4s final stints and some late drama and quick-laps promoted the #97 into fifth overall and first in class, with the #95 crossing the line in P13 overall and ninth in GT4 Silver.
Tom and Ash ultimately sit sixth in the overall GT4 championship and third in the Silver cup, less than ten points off the top. Josh and Patrick slot into 15th overall and tenth in class.
“It was a really good race for us. The pace was really good with the car, it’s the best its felt all season. We should have won, but it is what it is. We enter the next round hopeful and with a lot of momentum despite the result.”
“It was always going to be hard for us starting from ninth with the additional success penalty from Snetterton. We pushed, we kept out of any incidents with anyone and stayed out of trouble. It was just about being consistent, we worked our way up and ended up first in class. It’s a really positive result for us and the team and I are really happy with the result.”