RACING TEAM TURKEY SCORES MAIDEN PODIUM AT RED BULL RING
In only their second ever LMP2 outing, Racing Team Turkey by TF Sport stepped onto the European Le Mans Series podium at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, with a second place Pro/Am finish, fourth overall, for Salih Yoluç, Charlie Eastwood and Logan Sargeant.
Due to #34’s platinum-graded driver, Harry Tincknell’s commitments to his IMSA programme, Florida-based Sargeant stepped into the line up. Despite marking his ELMS and LMP2 debut last week, youngster Sargeant wasted no time in making an impression and put the Racing Team Turkey prototype at the top of the timesheets in both of Thursday’s practice runs. Logan continued this strong performance into qualifying, as he dominated the session and claimed overall pole position by 0.157s.
Yoluç took the start of the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring and stayed within the top four during his stint, battling hard with higher-graded drivers, before handing over to Eastwood. After falling down the order on the timing screen, due to a strategic early stop, Eastwood carved his way back through the field. However a sudden downpour in the latter half of the race threw strategies wide open.
The safety car was called out and the clock continued to count down, as the conditions became even more treacherous. Eastwood did an incredible job to keep #34 on track, as many competitors found themselves beached in various gravel traps and tyre barriers.
Charlie handed over to Logan with over an hour remaining and as the track began to dry mid-stint, Sargeant made a charge towards the front and was consistently the fastest man on track. The debutante brought #34 over the line second in class and narrowly missing out on the overall podium.
It was a week of strong improvement for the TF Sport GTE gentleman driver, John Hartshorne, as he made great steps forward in his development with the Aston Martin GTE.
There was a change in line-up on the GT side of TF Sport’s garage too, for the same reasons. Ross Gunn was replaced by fellow factory Pro, Jonny Adam, whilst he was stateside for IMSA at Mid-Ohio.
A tough qualifying session was had for Adam and despite pushing all he could out of the Vantage, it was a challenge to compete with the pace of the Ferraris and #95 was positioned P6 for the second round of the ELMS.
Hartshorne kept his elbows out at the start and managed to fend off the pack of three behind him, for almost half of his stint. Hancock then took the reins from John and similarly to Eastwood, had to contest with the onslaught of rain. Ollie wrestled with the aquaplaning Vantage as the conditions worsened, but managed to close the gap to the class competitors ahead.
It was two-time Le Mans victor, Adam’s job to see how much further he could push forward, however, the changeable weather marred the end result for the #95 crew, but the team maximised their potential to finish P8 in the GTE class.
Round three of the 2021 European Le Mans Series will take place at Le Castellet, France, on June 5/6.
Tom Ferrier, Team Owner - “To be the fastest overall twice in practice, claim overall pole and then to be stood on the podium of the most competitive class in the European Le Mans Series, in the team’s second weekend of running a prototype, is huge credit to how hard everyone has worked on our LMP2 campaign. It was also great to see John make strong improvements, which is all good progress towards his preparation for Le Mans.”
Logan Sargeant, #34 Gold driver - “What a debut weekend it was with Racing Team Turkey by TF Sport. It was an absolute pleasure to work with them. The car was extremely fast from the time we put it on the floor on Thursday and to get my first pole was amazing. The race was incredibly tricky and we were unfortunate to get caught out by the safety car, but I was happy with my stint to get us back up to P4 overall and P2 in class in those difficult conditions!”
Jonny Adam, #95 Platinum driver - “Good fun to be racing the Aston GTE with TF Sport again. Overall, really happy with John’s performance, huge progress over the whole weekend, especially in the race. I don’t think it’ll be long until these guys are knocking on the top five, hopefully next time out. We were just a bit unlucky with the weather today, I think we could have maybe bagged a top five if we had predicted the weather a bit better, but nobody could!”