TF Sport claimed the Endurance Cup in style Sunday (30 July, 2017) after finishing a fine second in one of the most challenging GT races of the season, the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Running the #97 Aston Martin V12 GT3, Blancpain regulars Jonny Adam and Ahmad Al Harthy were joined by TF Sport ELMS drivers Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc and their second position in class after no less than 539 laps of the Spa Francorchamps circuit, 15th overall, was enough to secure Pro-Am honours for TF Sport as well as Adam and Al Harthy in the title fight.
“We had the perfect strategy with the championship in mind,” said TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier. “Perhaps we could have won the race if we had pitted when the safety cars came out, but more importantly we wanted to maximise the points in the race and it worked perfectly.
“The team and drivers all put in perfect performances in what is such a tough race. We didn’t have one mechanical issue when it mattered and the stops were all as planned. Salih drove very well, his traffic management was exemplary, while Jonny, Ahmad and Euan all put in perfect drives. Overall, nothing could be better; we are the champions!”
Adam took qualifying duties and put in a sensational lap to claim the class pole position, sixth position overall and 15 places ahead of the second placed Pro-Am car. This placed him in the Super Pole shoot-out where but for a slight clutch issues meaning he missed his time slot to go on track – by just four seconds – he had to rely on his second fastest lap which was good enough for seventh on the grid overall.
Very much playing the championship game, where points are awarded at the six, 12 and the 24-hour mark, rather than pitting under safety cars to ensure the best possible race result, Adam took the first two stints before handing over to Hankey. The race unfolded with numerous safety car periods, with TF Sport ensuring that they led at the key moments, and with Yoluc then Al Harthy taking over, the team secured the title at the 12-hour mark.
Al Harthy took over for the final run to the flag Sunday afternoon to claim second position. This followed victory at Monza, second at Silverstone and Paul Ricard and with an impressive 108 points on the board, enough to claim the title with one round remaining…
“What a hard race that was,” said Adam. “One of the toughest I’ve raced in. If it wasn’t for an unlucky safety car situation we could have fought for the win but it’s a special feeling to win the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup championship. A huge thanks to everyone at TF Sport, Aston Martin Racing and my teammates Salih, Euan and fellow champion Ahmad for a memorable weekend!”
With the pressure firmly off, the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup takes place in Barcelona, September 30 to October 1.