A certain podium and potentially a race win seemed to be on the cards at the second round of the Blancpain GT Series last Sunday at Silverstone (20 May). Unfortunately, late race contact resulted in lost time and a fifth-place finish for Oman Racing with TF Sport.
Ahmad Al Harthy, Euan McKay and Charlie Eastwood again teamed up in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and under sunny skies at Silverstone the trio worked through an extensive programme to ready themselves for the race.
Qualifying went to plan with the team recording the third fastest time – as an average – following runs for all three drivers. Ahmad lined up on the grid for the first stint as it was announced that the #90 entry had received a penalty and placed at the back of the grid.
Effectively starting second in the Silver Cup class, Ahmad – well-aware that to finish well, first you must finish – opted for a cautious start before handing over the Aston Martin to Euan in fifth position. The Scot took a more aggressive stance and was soon closing in on a tremendous battle for positions two through to five. Euan made ground and positions to move third in class at just over half distance.
Charlie took over for the final stint, putting laps significantly quicker than the two cars ahead. Very much in contention for the win, the Belfast-based racer went to pass a car in a differing class on lap 70, but contact was made, and he was forced to return to the TF Sport pit for a steering arm change. Fast work from the team ensured that he was able to re-join, but fifth position was the result.
“It’s disappointing as again we showed good pace,” stated TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier. “A podium was on the cards easy. Massive credit to the guys to fix and turnaround the car that fast as we still got a fifth place and good points. We cannot afford any slip ups now moving forward if we are serious about winning this championship.”
It’s only a short break until the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup, which takes place 1-2 June at Circuit Paul Ricard.