TF SPORT GT4 DUO HOLD JOINT BRITISH GT CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER DONINGTON THREE-HOUR FIGHT
A hard-fought podium finish for Patrick Kibble and Connor O’Brien, and a fourth place for Jamie Caroline and Dan Vaughan at Donington Park last weekend, has resulted in the double entry from TF Sport tying on points at the top of the British GT standings, going into the penultimate round.
The second trip to Donington saw the first three-hour battle of the season, where race strategy was to play a huge part in the final results. Having three mandatory pit stops to serve, the TF crew ensured they had everything in place to give the sister cars the best possible chance of a strong race result.
Patrick Kibble had a superb dash in the #95, which saw him set the fastest time in his qualifying session. Combined with Connor O'Brien's efforts in the latter run, the duo lined up P3 for the three-hour battle. #97 had a tough time in their sessions, with Jamie Caroline having a lap deleted for track limits, and Dan Vaughan getting caught out on oil dropped by a McLaren, ending his stint in the gravel, the pairing qualified fifth.
TF Sport’s planned strategy paid off when a safety car was called on the opening lap, resulting in both cars diving into the pit lane to complete their first mandatory stop. Being the only GT4 team to make this call, meant that they had gained an advantage of over 40 seconds from the rest of the grid.
Unfortunately, the dominant performance was short-lived and even though Kibble set the fastest GT4 lap of the race, the Aston Martin’s struggled with overall race pace when compared to the other manufacturers in the field. All the team could do was maximise the potential of both #95 and #97, to finish in the strongest possible position.
The #95 finished on the podium so will carry a success penalty into the next race, whereas the sister car in fourth will only serve the minimum mandatory stop time in the first race at Snetterton.
Despite battling with pace against the other cars in class, the team's strategy for the three-hour race ensured both pairings scored as many points as they could, to assist in their hunt for the championship honours. The sister cars left Donington joint first place in the championship, 1.5 points ahead of the Academy Motorsport Mustang.
The penultimate round of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship will take place at Snetterton, Norfolk next week, 3-4 October.
Mike Pickup, Team Manager - “It’s great to be at the top of the championship leaderboard once again. We maximised what we could from the race, to score those valuable points to keep us in the title fight and the crew did a stellar job with yet another double-stack stop, which they performed faultlessly. The aim for Snetterton will be the same, to score as many points as possible with both cars.”
Patrick Kibble, #95 - “Overall I’m very happy with how the weekend went. I topped my qualifying session which I was pleased with considering the strength of the Mustang and the McLaren. The race was just about staying consistent and managing the traffic, three hours is a long time and you need to stay in it until the very end! Great to get another podium and gain valuable points going into the final two rounds.”
Dan Vaughan, #97 - “The weekend was hard for us. We had problems with the car on Saturday, which meant the guys were working on it late into the night. The team did a brilliant job all weekend! We had a fairly faultless race, and made the right calls on pit stops, but an issue with our race pace hampered our result. Nevertheless, it was a generally positive weekend. Fourth was a good finish and means not only do we have the championship lead, but we also have no penalty going to Snetterton.”