TF Sport retains ELMS title lead despite tough challenge at Spa
TF Sport maintained their championship lead following the penultimate round of the European Le Mans Series that took place at Spa Francorchamps (22-24 September). Early race contact compromised the four-hour event, but the team battled on to finish in fifth position.
Euan Hankey took the first stint but was unfortunate to find himself hit from behind into the first turn and more importantly sustained further contact on the front right after a brush with an LMP3 car. This set the tone for the race as with a badly damaged front wing, Hankey dropped down the order from second to sixth.
Hankey continued on through the first stint, but with the loss of downforce, lost a minute to the cars ahead. The team pitted as scheduled with Nicki Thiim taking the car for the second stint, but the damage had been done and progress up the field was not possible.
The team cycled through the stops with Salih Yoluc and then Hankey taking turns, eventually bringing the #90 Aston Martin GTE home in fifth, ensuring a one-point lead in the title race ahead of the Portuguese finale.
Tom Ferrier, TF Sport Director
“Not what we hoped for. A much-improved qualifying but contact at the start really destroyed our chances. We lost half the front bumper and it made the car really un-driveable for the guys.
"We also had an electrical gremlin that we need to get to the bottom of. We are still leading the championship but we really need to bring our A-game to Portimao. It's going to go down to the last lap!”
Salih Yoluc, driver #90 B
"We got damage at the start which literally ruined our race and after that, it was really a case of bringing the car home. I had to cruise in my stint to ensure a finish. The championship is tight, we need to finish ahead of the #66 in Portugal but we’re good enough to do it. We just need to make sure we don’t have the luck we had here at Spa."
Nicki Thiim, driver #90 P
“Probably the most frustrating race of the year for me. We had contact within five minutes with an LMP3 car and we lost a lot of downforce on the front end, which hurt us. It’s frustrating but we’ll keep our head held high. My stint was difficult, I just had to bring the car back. We had some technical issues also so I guess the best thing out there was the smell of the karts from the go-kart track!”