Over exuberance cost TF sport a higher step on the podium at Le Castellet

Saturday, August 27, 2016

After a six week summer break the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup Series reconvened at the Circuit de Paul Ricard in southern France this weekend for what would be their fourth round of the inaugural 2016 season.

All the teams arrived at the circuit with a revised Balance of Performance to take them into the closing half of the season with the #34 TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of Salih Yoluc and Eaun Hankey having a 20kg 'success balance' added to their cars base weight whereas others had turbo boost and engine restrictor adjustments made in addition to weight adjustments.

TF Sport arrived at the circuit holding a single point advantage over the extremely fast SMP Racing line up in the #52 Ferrari and predictions were that the Russians would again be the force to contend with in France.

The two Free Practice sessions came and went with all teams 'doing their own thing' and it wasn't until Qualifying that true competitive pace between the teams became apparent when Yoluc put in his second best time of the meeting to secure P2 in Qualifying before improving again in Super Pole (with a circuit personal best of 1:59:00) to qualify P2 overall - just behind the #52 Ferrari for the race later in the afternoon.

Trouble was however soon to strike the #34 car, even before they had taken the green actually as Yoluc overlapped the pole sitting Ferrari at the start. Despite ultimately settling in to the remainder of the opening lap down in P3 there would be an anxious fifteen minute wait until Race Control confirmed his 'Drive Through' penalty for his jumped start.

With it being so quickly into a two hour race all was not lost as having served his penalty Yoluc was soon closing down upon those in front at a vast rate of knots.

Yoluc's second 'silly mistake' of the day came at about the forty minute mark when his hast to pass Mark Poole in the series returning #66 Barwell Lamborghini into T1, he tried to push through on the inside but instead made contact with the rear of the #66, tapping them into a race delaying spin earning himself a second drive through penalty for his troubles.

With co driver Euan Hankey stepping into the car at the mandatory stop at the mid way point there was little that he could do other than take the car back to the third position on track, a position that in hindsight seemed to be the #34's natural position in the race.

Despite clawing back time on track to the Ferrari and Porsche ahead of him time would ultimately run out before Hankey could mount any sort of challenge for position before the chequered flag finishing less than ten seconds behind the second placed Porsche.

Nobody would rue the cost of the errors on track more than the man who made them. Still relatively inexperienced from a racing point of view Yoluc's over exuberance at the start of the race certainly cost him and his team a small number of points from any potential of finishing higher on the podium than they actually did but we are sure that with Hankey's help he will learn and improve from it.

The series will now move back north in continental Europe for their penultimate round at the Spa Francorchamps circuit towards the end of September. Objective for TF Sport will simply be to finish ahead of the #52 SMP Ferrari if they are to have any chance of winning the series and its ultimate automatic entry into the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Photo credits - Adrenal Media
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes