TF SPORT SCORES CLEAN SWEEP AT SNETTERTON TO MAINTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Both TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT4s took multiple trips to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship podium, at the penultimate round at Snetterton last weekend. Dan Vaughan and Jamie Caroline scored their maiden win for #97 in the opening race, followed by a second position and it was two third place finishes for the #95 pairing of Patrick Kibble and Connor O’Brien, taking their season’s podium tally to five.
The two double-podium results saw TF Sport claim their third victory of the season, and it was the fourth time this year that the sister cars had joined one another on the podium. Caroline and Vaughan remain at the top of the Championship standings, with a 2.5 point lead over the HHC Motorsport McLaren of Collard and Matthiesen. Kibble and O’Brien lie third, 13 points shy of their team mates, but with points and a half awarded at the finale, they are still well within the fight. TF Sport sit 27 points clear of HHC Motorsport in the Teams’ Championship standings.
It was a challenging start to the weekend, with the wintery weather conditions well and truly settled in around the UK, the crew spent the free practice sessions altering set ups and the drivers had to adapt their approach to tackling the Snetterton 300 layout. Solid running ensured neither car dropped below fourth ahead of qualifying.
A strong qualifying performance by both O’Brien and Kibble, placed the #95 in fourth and third respectively for the opening race. Vaughan recorded his second-best qualifying run of the season, achieving P3 in his session and Caroline managed fifth for #97 in Q2.
With there being no sign of the rain letting up, the first race of the weekend was started under safety car conditions. Three laps in, the field were given the green light to go racing, Vaughan and O’Brien were first at the wheel and whilst #97 spent its stint chasing down the HHC duo ahead, Connor in #95 did a great job to hold off the #61 Academy Mustang, before handing over to Kibble.
The TF crew’s slick stops saw #97 leave the pits in the lead of the race and this is where Caroline stayed until the flag, claiming his and Vaughan’s maiden win of the season. Kibble had a tougher fight on his hands after serving his five-second success penalty. The youngster’s determination shone through, as he took seven seconds out of the gap between him and the #57 McLaren in a single lap and then performed a superb move down the inside of Wesemael to take P3. Kibble’s next target was the HHC #58 and despite ending up hot on its heels, there wasn’t enough time left on the clock for Patrick to make a move for second position.
Race two’s aim was to maximise the potential of both entries and try to overcome the success penalties from the morning’s battle. A flying start by Caroline saw him lead the field, from P5, by turn three and with #95’s Patrick following directly behind in second, the TF duo began to pull away from the GT4 pack and it was here the pair stayed until the stops. Despite leaving the pit lane in second and third position, Vaughan and O’Brien wasted no time in chasing down and passing the #21 Balfe Motorsport McLaren to run 1-2 once again.
Unfortunately, the pace of the #58 HHC Motorsport McLaren, which seemed to favour the greasy conditions, was hard to contend with, and saw Collard sail past both TF Vantages on the straight to take the lead, leaving #97 and #95 to finish second and third respectively.
The finale of the 2020 Intelligent Money British GT Championship takes place at Silverstone on November 7/8, where ‘the home of British Motorsport’ will host the annual three-hour blue riband event.
Patrick Kibble, #95 - “Overall, I’m very happy to add another two podium finishes to our collection this season. We were so close to finishing second in the first race, I think I just needed one more lap! It was tough to stay consistent in the wet and greasy conditions, but I’m going to look back on my performance and come back stronger at Donington. The championship fight isn’t over until the flag at Silverstone and we’re going to aim for the win! A huge thank you to the team, my mechanics and engineer were faultless as always.”
Dan Vaughan, #97 - “Great weekend, the team did a fantastic job and the car was perfect! I think we maximised our potential and the win in race one was a huge step forward for Jamie and I. The second podium helped our points haul and it’s fantastic to have such a close battle going into the final round of the season.”
Mike Pickup, Team Manager - “You can’t ask for much more than both cars stepping onto the podium in both races on the same weekend, especially with the success penalties they had to serve. Once again, our crew didn’t put a foot wrong and to have both cars fighting for championship honours at the final round of the season is testament to how hard everyone has worked this season. We are very much looking forward to the last push at Silverstone!”