Hot off the heels of victory in ELMS on Saturday, TF Sport got its British GT campaign off to a solid start this afternoon (17 April, 2017) at Oulton Park by claiming three podium positions between the two Aston Martin Vantage GT3 entries.
“We made life a bit hard for ourselves in qualifying,” said TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier. “Starting down the field in P11 for the #1 car wasn’t ideal but to pull a double podium out of that for them was an excellent result.
“The other car (#11) also struggled a bit in qualifying but race day was good, with a fourth and a third. Next time at Rockingham we’ll be aiming a whole lot higher, but here turned out well after a difficult start.”
Qualifying proved to be mixed for the team with Jonny Adam on racing duties elsewhere and Derek Johnston suffered an on off, meant that no time was set. Lining up 11th for the first race after setting the pace in the wet morning warmup, Johnston put in a great first stint, moving seventh at the start and then progressing to a strong fourth position and withstanding pressure from the cars from behind.
Johnston pitted at mid-distance having survived a close moment with a spinning Porsche ahead and handed over to Adam who was immediately on the pace, moving third on lap 18 with an audacious pass around the outside into the second chicane. With the podium position secured, the #1 team took third position, just four seconds adrift of the car ahead.
Mark Farmer lined up in fifth position in the sister #11 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, avoided a water spillage from the car ahead on the grid that unexpectedly expired on the grid and ran fourth in the early stages of the race, fending off the advances of a Ginetta from behind. Farmer handed over to Jon Barnes who lost out to the #1 car in the second stint and held on for a strong fifth place finish.
For race two, Adam lined up again 11th position and with the rival Bentley team making life a bit easier than expected, ran fifth on lap two and then third at the end of another strong stint. Johnston took over shadowing teammate Mark Farmer who held station initially before running wide and losing the position.
Running second and third, TF Sport pressed on, only for a safety car period to be deployed and shortly after the race called due to Armco damage.
“It’s a great result for us, even if the (race winning) Lamborghini looks really quick,” said Adam. “We’re looking ahead now to Rockingham where last year we overcame a 20 second deficit, so we now starting thinking about that.”
For Barnes, third position in the second race was good, but losing out to a TF Sport teammate is always a little frustrating. “I’m happy with the result but Mark is going to have a little telling off for running wide. But really, once we qualified fifth, a podium was always the aim and that’s what we’ve achieved, so we can be pretty happy with that.”
TF Sport’s British GT programme continues at Rockingham 29-30 April.