TF Sport finish on a high at GT Open finale - but how high is the question?

Sunday, November 01, 2020

With rumblings and formal Appeals against previous decision made at the final round of the International GT Open Series from Barcelona still ongoing, the Provisional results after today’s final race have placed the #34 TF Sport Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 in second overall in the Championship after the season’s twelve races.

Going into this weekend’s round with only a mathematical chance of lifting the overall prize, drivers Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood so nearly pulled off the feat had it not been for the actions of a guesting Am Class Lamborghini that created the two Safety Car periods within Saturday’s feature race. Having taken over the red Aston Martin from the Pole setting Irishman, Yoluc looked comfortable with his five second lead (and growing) before the #4 car spun out for the third time in the race down at turn 1 which needed the Safety Car to come out for its recovery.

That, and the resulting action of the pack behind at the restart threw Yoluc off kilter to drop as low as P6 at the restart before eventually recovering to P4 at the end. A post-race penalty then elevated the TF Sport crew to P3 overnight but in that, handed them also an additional 10 seconds of success penalties for Sunday’s sprint race.

With Yoluc getting baulked on track by the slower GT4 cars, he would Qualify in P7 and would hold onto that position throughout his opening stint as the Championship leading McLaren and Ferrari’s made their escape up ahead. Their dream appeared to be over.

Suddenly the race came to life as Championship positions rotated as incident and accident on track altered those positions and with less than ten minutes remaining “all hell let loose”.

The #17 Ferrari was already racing with a two second pit stop violation penalty so needed to finish ahead of the #59 McLaren by that margin in order to lift the prize. Eastwood had also worked his magic and had moved up to P3 and soon had Vincent Abril’s #17 car in his sights.

Desperate to get ahead of Abril’s team mate on track, the #59 car was getting nervous as the pressure began to pile upon them before going into the final minutes, the two cars were nose to tail on track. The inevitable contact was made between them on the penultimate lap which spun the #59 car into the gravel and out of the race. Finishing under the Safety Car, the #34 car finished within two seconds of the #17 car so took the race win as the #17 car took the also inevitable post-race penalty.

Long since after the dropping of the chequered flag, the #59 Teo Martin McLaren has been given the provisional Championship win from TF Sport by just two points after each teams worst result to date was dropped but then, both Saturday’s and Sunday’s race results are being officially Appealed by both AF Corse and Teo Martin!!!

What happens now – only time will tell!!

Photo credit - GT Open / TF Sport

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