TF Sport see out British GT with a 1 - 2 finish

Monday, September 14, 2015

TF Sport concluded its 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship campaign in memorable style by securing a one-two finish at the East Midland’s Donington Park with victory going to the driver pairing of Matt Bell and Derek Johnston (12-13 September).

Looking to round-out its 2015 British GT campaign on a high, Andrew Jarman and Jody Fannin made good that promise by setting the second fastest time in free practice during mixed weather conditions, before going on to secure a second consecutive pole position later that day ahead of the sister car of Matt Bell and Derek Johnston in sixth.

Snetterton’s Race 1 pole sitter, Jarman, took control of the session on his first flying lap in qualifying to go a tenth quicker than the rest of the field, before extending that advantage to almost a second on his second flying lap.

Having yet to run in dry conditions, nor race on Donington Park’s GP configuration since 2012, Fannin jumped into the drivers’ seat to explore uncharted territory and continued his teammate’s earlier dominance to once again top the timesheets and head the field for the following day’s (13 September) season concluding two-hour endurance race.

With a title scrap set to go to the wire behind, Jarman lead the field into Redgate for the first time, as Johnston negotiated his way past two of his rivals to sit fourth and run nose-to-tail with the championship contending Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3.

The Geordie driver muscled his way past the Ecurie Ecosse BMW, before then moving past another of Triple Eight Racing to form a TF Sport one-two, as Jarman continued to extend his lead. 

Jarman dominated proceedings and his lead never looked threatened, before a race-ending incident for Ecurie Ecosse brought about the Safety Car, neutralising the team’s advantage.

Nonetheless, Jarman bolted at the restart with Johnston in tandem, where they continued to hold position while lapping several tenths quicker than the rest of the field, before handing over to their counterparts for the final hour of the race and season.

Bell took over the reins of the MSW-liveried Aston Martin and snatched the lead of the race from the Eurostar-liveried car, after setting the fastest lap of the race on his first flying lap.

From there, Bell, who has finished on the podium at Donington Park in every meeting of the previous four seasons, continued to pull away from the rest of the field, lapping consistently inside the 1m29s to hand TF Sport its first British GT GT3 victory in its relatively short career, with Fannin emerging from a last lap altercation with Joe Osbourne to secure a second podium in as many meetings and conclude the season on a memorable high.

Delighted with his first British GT win of his career, Johnston said: “I messed up in qualifying and that put my head in the wrong place, but we looked over data in the morning and saw exactly where I’d gone wrong. I then felt really comfortable in the warm-up session in the morning and headed into the race eager to get up the leaderboard. It’s my home circuit, so I had to go for it and I drove aggressively, but fair. I took the opportunities when they were there and it helped us build a massive gap to third position. 

“Once Matt (Bell) was in the car I knew we could win it. He did an awesome stint and it feels incredibly to have scored a win, which is actually bitter sweet, as I feel we should have had more by now, but to get it at the final round is awesome.”

“It was a really good weekend,” said Fannin. “I had no laps in the dry all weekend and haven’t raced on the Grand Prix configuration in the dry since 2012, so it was a voyage into the unknown, but we did really well to stick it on pole. Although there was no wheel-to-wheel racing, it was pretty intense, as there was a few tenths here and there between me and Joe (Osbourne) and Matt (Bell), it was constantly ebbing and flowing.

“It was a great result for the team to record a one-two finish in what is a very tough championship, but it was the wrong step for us and we still need to get that win. But nonetheless, a great way to end the year.”

TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “It has been a dream weekend. We came into the weekend with a chance of getting at least one car onto the podium, but to get a win and a second place finish is wonderful. All four drivers did fantastic jobs out there and it is a great way to end the season. It is also the second consecutive weekend where we’ve come away with the most points in the Teams’ championship and has helped us finish firmly in third position. Hopefully it will carry us in good steed for the future, as we embark on a tour round Europe in the coming weeks.”

Source material - TF Sport
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