Getting the job done early pays off for TF Sport at Barcelona

Monday, October 02, 2017

Having already secured the Pro-Am Endurance Cup Drivers and Team Championships within the Blancpain GT Series at the Spa 24Hr, the final race of the series in Barcelona was suppose to end TF Sport's victorious season on a high but like a lot of things motor sport - things don't necessarily always go to plan.

With full season and Championship winning drivers Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam being again joined by TF Sport stablemate Salih Yoluc all were subject to a complete range of weather conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya, ranging from bright sunshine on Saturday morning to a fully wet track in the afternoon.

Like with any Pro-Am team, that changeable weather presented some setup issues that would cater for the driving style of all three drivers but at least (and unlike the Pro titles that were still up for grabs), it was a risk free situation for the team considering he championship position. Despite the varying track conditions Adam was able to place their #97 car P2 in class and P9 overall in the Sunday morning Qualifying ahead the start of three hour finale later that afternoon.

Yoluc would again take the opening stint as the race starting on a very damp track surface and with 48 other GT3's pounding round it wasn't surprising that the opening stages were peppered with both local and full course yellow flags. The price Yoluc unfortunately paid for avoiding the near carnage ahead was by being rightly cautious in the opening laps ultimately being dropped back to P9 in class by the time of his handover to Al Harthy.

In the midst of his stint and whilst Al Harthy was pushing for P8 in class, for reasons not quite clear (maybe previous contact damage) the drivers right hand side front wing of the #97 car was lifted and ripped from the car as he accelerated along the pit straight. That itself caused another brief FCY but more importantly impeded the car from any further progress due to the loss of downforce.

Adam would see out the final hour of the season and after a brilliant display of defensive driving he  finally brought home a rather battle scared car to finish P6 in class - not the result that they had hoped for but still a fine display of determination when things were stacked against them.

With the British GT and now Blancpain GT seasons now concluded TF Sport now concentrate on the 'winner takes all' European Le Mans finale at Portimao in two weeks time with the teams #90 car holding a slender one point lead over its nearest rival in the GTE class.

Photo credits - Andrew Lofthouse

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