Double podium for TF Sport in Hungary

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Their mid year announcement that TF Sport would again compete within the International GT Open Series proved itself to be a good decision for the Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 team as drivers Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood collected their second podium of the weekend with a P3 in Sundays shorter race.

Having had Yoluc undertake the Qualifying and race start duties in Saturdays race, Sunday saw Eastwood take the reigns of the #34 car this morning to place the car on the third row of the grid in P5 albeit only a quarter of a second off the pole setting McLaren's pace.

Fortunately for all, the opening lap was less of an issue this time around although race 2 saw two fewer cars make the start this time around after technical issues with one of the Bentleys and significant accident damage to the #5 Mercedes AMG forced then to sit this one out.

Taking a position on the opening corners, Eastwood quickly solidified his place on track as the race developed a rhythm, never quite able to push the two cars immediately ahead but fast enough to gap the car trying to do the same to him from behind. Running P4 overall but P3 in the Pro class, Eastwood would run the #34 car for as long as possible into the available post window before pitting from second on track with about 25 minutes of the one hour race remaining.

With Yoluc now in the car, all he had to do was maintain the gaps to those behind him as the battle for P4/5/6 was vigorous enough to be slowing all of them down and whilst he still had no answer to the race leader in front, time was running out for those behind.

Finally, the #11 Mercedes with a Pro driver inside got past the McLaren that had been serving as the mobile chicane on track and gave them just six minutes to make up the five second gap to Yoluc and then pass the Aston for the next step up the podium.

That occurred half way around the final lap when the #11 car tried to go the long way around Salih and made use of the concrete run off to gain momentum to pass the Aston into the next chicane that he also cut! With no new threat from behind, Yoluc had to let the yellow Mercedes go and settle for a P3 overall finish (P2 in Pro Class).

Later Yoluc would confirm that both cars had been reprimanded for their conduct on track as Race Control felt that Yoluc had pushed the Mercedes off track at the time but no revision of the finishing order has yet been made although results do remain Provisional!

Anyway, any podium finish is a podium finish and todays result places the #34 crew into fifth in the GT Open Championship table as the series moves on to Paul Ricard at the end of the month.

For TF Sport, their next race is of course this weekend coming at the resumption of the World Endurance Championship from Spa Francorchamps!

Photo credits - GT Open / TF Sport
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