TF Sport delivers class victory on International GT Open return

Monday, October 05, 2015

An impressive performance from TF Sport’s Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc resulted a GT-Am class victory on the Surrey-based team’s return to the International GT Open at the history-rich Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit in Italy (3-4 October).

Turkish racer, Yoluc, was elected to start the first 70-minute race of the weekend on Saturday (3 October) and made his way up to 12th from the rear end of the grid on the opening tour of the charismatic Monza circuit.

Yoluc was determined to progress further and this was evident when he attempted a lunge on Lorenzo Bontempelli’s Audi R8 into the second Lesmo, but, unable to dispose of his Italian rival, the TF Sport racer focused on soaking up the immense pressure from Claudio Sdanewitsch’s AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia behind.

The race was in a state of flux during the pit window and a well-executed driver-change approaching half-distance and some pacey lap times from Euan Hankey saw the TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage leap to eighth in the definitive order.

The Tom Ferrier-led TF Sport team, a race winner on its International GT Open debut at Silverstone in 2014, pushed on and followed GT-Am rivals Sdanewitsch and Ilya Melnikov during the final throes to complete a shortened race in eighth overall and second in class.

TF Sport – an official Aston Martin Racing Partner Team – went on to surprise the International GT Open regulars on Sunday (4 October), perfectly exploiting damp, but drying track conditions to qualify on the front row of the race two grid, alongside the Radical RXC of James Abbott.

A conservative start meant Hankey maintained second position on the initial run through the Variante del Rettifilo chicane, but looked racy and confidently held the racing line, despite coming under threat from Matt Griffin’s Ferrari.

It was on the third lap that Hankey put the hammer down in pursuit of the agile Radical coupe and the top trio ran nose-to-tail when a slow exit from Variante della Roggia for race leader Abbott enabled Hankey to snatch the initiative on the wide line through the first Lesmo.

Griffin also moved past Abbott and into second position and he was an ever-present fixture in Hankey’s rear-view mirrors as Michele Rugolo made it a three-way fight prior to the stops.

Hankey placed his Aston Martin perfectly and frustrated his GT-Pro foes to create what was hailed as one of the most enthralling tussles of the 2015 International GT Open season, although the fight was neutralised when AF Corse switched Griffin for Duncan Cameron.

TF Sport opted to extend its stint until the limit of the pit window and, although Yoluc was still in the lead when all the strategies played out with 20 minutes of the race remaining, the Turk was relegated to fourth overall, but still took top honours in GT-Am.

Source material - TF Sport
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