Road to Le Mans top six finishes for TF Sport

Sunday, June 19, 2016

TF Sport made the best of what was a closely-fought Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup ‘Road to Le Mans’ race on Saturday (18 June), bringing its pair of Aston Martin V12 Vantages home inside the top six.

The new-for-2016 GT3 Le Mans Cup kicked off at the historic and evocative Imola circuit last month, but the championship’s second round was held on the illustrious support bill for what is universally regarded as the world’s greatest race – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It would be TF Sport’s first experience of the Le Mans racetrack and clean, uninterrupted free practice and qualifying sessions were needed, but changeable conditions, slow zones and red flag stoppages all conspired against the British team.

In the ‘Road to Le Mans’ itself, Salih Yoluc took the first stint in the #43 entry ahead of the mandatory two-minute pit stop and driver-change, making up ground from the outset to run in a fine fifth position in the GT3 class before handing over to Euan Hankey.

Hankey, who had been unable to complete a timed lap before the race, lost two places because a green flag wasn't shown at the end of a slow zone, before surviving a spin that occurred while lapping an LMP3 back marker, but the Briton was still able to make gains and took fourth position in the final laps.

Over in the sister #22 Aston Martin, Andrew Jarman took the first stint, running in a solid sixth position, but a pit lane speed ingrigement would result in a ten-second stop-go penalty during teammate Devon Modell's stint.

The Kent racer took over, keeping pace with the field in eighth before progressing back up to sixth with a spectacular passing move on two cars on the Mulsanne Straight to take the chequered flag in sixth and round out a solid, if not slightly underwhelming day for TF Sport at Le Mans.

“I was pleased to pass two cars at once at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight and to set the second fastest lap, especially as there was a lot more pace to come,” said Modell. “I was still finding the braking points at the end of the race, which was a steep learning experience. It was good fun to drive Circuit de la Sarthe, but I was aiming for a podium – everybody wants to be on the Le Mans podium.”

Jarman added: “Finishing sixth from 11th on the grid; we’ll take that. Devon (Modell) drove really well and I can’t really complain about the result, because I have spent the week dusting off the cobwebs for what was my first race in seven months. It was a shame to receive the ten-second stop-go penalty and, if it was me who sped in the pits, I have to hold my hands up and apologise to the TF Sport team. The whole experience of racing on the Le Mans 24 Hours package is fantastic, but, while the result is good, you always want more.”

While fourth and sixth position were a solid result, TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier was left wanting for more, saying: “The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup ‘Road to Le Mans’ was another one that got away, much like last weekend’s Silverstone 500. Ultimately, I would have been happy to have finished fourth and sixth when we arrived in Le Mans, but we had a chance to beat our chief championship rival.

“It has been a strange week, with short, stop-start sessions, but the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a superb event and being on the support bill is an honour. It certainly whets the appetite and to have an entry in Le Mans itself would be unbelievable.”

Photo credits - Adrenal Media

Source material - TF Sport
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