TF Sport leave Monza still in title hunt in GT Open

Monday, September 28, 2020

An impressive charge to the second step of the podium was the highlight of TF Sport’s weekend at Monza, as avoidable contact from a competitor in the second race heavily reduced the crew’s point-scoring potential. Round four of the International GT Open proved to be the team’s most challenging yet, however, the 2020 championship honours are still well within their reach.

Coming off the back of their 24 Hours of Le Mans victory, Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and the TF Sport crew were hungry for more success. However, it became apparent early on in the weekend that the long straights of Monza were much more suited to the Aston Martin GT3’s rivals. All the #34 team could do, was to focus on maximising the potential of their Vantage.

Salih took the first of the weekend’s qualifying sessions and managed to claim P6, behind a cohort of McLarens. A great race start by the Turk and despite slight contact, which dropped him down to seventh as the GT Open field navigated their way though to Rettifilo chicane on the opening lap, Yoluc made his Vantage as wide as possible throughout his stint to hold position until the stop.

A 15-second handicap had to be served for winning the previous race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, yet Eastwood still managed to return to the track in seventh, and wasted no time in working his way up the order. With less than 15 minutes remaining, some rather impressive manoeuvres saw the TF pro pass rivals #17, #7 and #57 in just a few corners, including a hero move around the outside at Parabolica. It was a drag race to the line with the #72 McLaren and despite Charlie finishing P3 on the road, 0.013s behind the Optimum machine, Nick Moss was handed a post-race penalty which promoted #34 to second place.

Eastwood’s qualifying session was a close contest for the top two rows and he fought to place the TF Vantage in P4, a mere 0.001s behind third position. Once again, a clean start was made and with the 25-second handicap in mind, Charlie gave it his all to work his way forward. Unfortunately, the performance of the #26 Bentley down the straights just couldn’t be matched and fourth was where Eastwood stayed until it was time to hand over to Salih.

Yoluc rejoined the race in sixth position, post-success penalty, and was doing well to fend off the pack behind. Unfortunately, hard contact from the #57 Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren in the latter half of the race, turned Salih around and dropped the TF Aston down the order. #57 was handed a drive through penalty for the incident and Salih took the flag in tenth place.

Minimal points awarded means #34 has remained third in the championship standings, 15 points behind championship leaders Chaves/Ramos in the #59 Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren.

The penultimate round of the International GT Open takes place at Spa-Francorchamps on 17-18 October.

Source material - TF Sport
Photo credits - GT Open 

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