TF Sport bank Pro class podium on return to GT Open

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Four years since last competing in the International GT Open Series with their then trusty Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3, Sussex based TF Sport took their long term customer racer Salih Yoluc back to the Series this weekend along with one of their new V8 Vantage GT3's for a little additional race seat time to help fill the gaps in their revised race calendars.

Returning with one of his current World Endurance Championship co-drivers in Charlie Eastwood, the opening pre race sessions from a very hot Hungaroring in Hungry saw some nice time advances for the #34 Pro Class crew as each gathered speed throughout the two testing and two Free Practice Sessions and into todays first race of the weekend having Qualified in P10 earlier in the day.

With Yoluc taking the start for this seventy minute race, the young Turk did the sensible thing of keeping himself out of harms way as the seventeen GT3 cars thundered into turn 1. Luckily he did really as at least three cars came together, some spinning off with two of those going into immediate retirement as a result.

Making use of his thirty minute of race time, Yoluc elevated the teams now familiar red liveried AMR Vantage GT3 up to P8 by the time he pitted at the start of the available pit stop window for fuel, tyres and a driver change.

Whilst the running order balanced itself out with some cars running a late pit stop strategy with having their Pro driver starting the race, Eastwood was soon all over the back of former F1 racer Christian Klein as he entered his final laps of the race before pitting - which must have been amusing for him at least!

By the time as the pit window had closed, the #34 AMR had moved top to P6 thanks to a stranded Bentley ahead of them in running order who had spun out aided which then brought out the Safety Car for recovery. Losing eleven minutes to that caution period it looked like Eastwood would have his work cut out as he featured as the tenth car in the Safety Car chain with other runners being found ahead and out of position relative to theirs.

That quickly turned out not to be of any issue as a heavy impact for the #5 Mercedes Benz AMG in the barriers towards the rear of the pack on the green lap immediately brought out the Safety Car again. Fortunately able to remove himself from the car unaided and apparently uninjured Race Control simply saw out the remaining six minutes of the race behind the Safety Car as both recovery and the required level of barrier repair was simply unrealistic in that available time period.

That result left Yoluc and Eastwood classified as finishing P6 overall but P3 in their Pro Class at their first time of asking (having run in Pro-Am last time in the Series) with race 2 still to look forward to tomorrow with Eastwood this time starting the race!

Photo credits - GT Open / TF Sport

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