A podium finish for TF Sport in the first round of Blancpain GT
Despite changing conditions throughout Sunday’s race, TF Sport rounded out the weekend with a well-fought podium during the first round of the Blancpain GT at the illustrious Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Having completed extensive pre-season testing with the season-new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 V8, TF Sport entered the GT Endurance Cup for the third time. This year the team geared up with Turkish driver, Salih Yoluc, joining last seasons’ duo of Charlie Eastwood and Ahmad Al Harthy.
A wet qualifying session with large amounts of lingering spray caused issues throughout the field with red flags being a recurrent; but capitalising on the conditions, the team did a fantastic, collective effort to qualify first in class with a combined time of 2:08:177.
With conditions worsening from the mornings’ qualifying session, the race was started under the safety car with Ahmad at the wheel. Having managed various full course yellows as well as safety car periods, he maintained the class lead throughout his hour-long stint before passing over the car to Salih.
A strange succession of punctures to the rear-left dropped Salih down to fifth in class, but with the leading #87 and #74 Mercedes’ colliding, the team were back on track to recover a positive result.
Charlie jumped in for the final stint in the new Vantage and held on to secure third place in class and the trio’s first podium together in Blancpain GT for TF Sport.
Tom Ferrier, TF Sport Director
“Disappointed in some ways, but happy in others. We were fast enough to win but then we had two punctures which was a pair of negatives and I don’t quite know the reason why yet. And we then benefitted of the misfortune of others which is never the best way of doing it but happy to start with a podium. We’re the only Aston Martin to be on the podium this weekend and it’s Charlie’s first podium in Blancpain as well which is great. We look forward to what we can achieve in Silverstone.”
Amad Al Harthy
“Overall really happy with our pole position, we did a great team effort, everybody did what they had to do. I was really happy with the start, very tricky to stay out of trouble. But to come out of this weekend with a podium, we’re very happy and we know that we can achieve really good results in the next races if we put our heads down.”
“We had two punctures in the middle stint, so we were quite far-away from P2 but also quite far ahead of P4 so instead of driving fast, I just had to preserve the tyre and not hit any kerbs. That meant that it wasn’t the most fun stint in the world, but it was good to get a podium in Monza; bearing in mind we didn’t get a perfect race and great to have had pole position in qualifying so clearly we had the speed, we just need to convert it in round two.”
“It was good to get a podium especially after the punctures I got. We benefited a bit from the misfortune of others is not nice, but that is racing. We’ll get back in Silverstone hopefully with a win.”