TF Sport and driver Salih Yoluc fought-hard to recover a podium in the rain-affected day in Blancpain GT at Autodromo Nazionale Monza in the season-new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 V8.
Tricky conditions in qualifying caused several red flags in Q1 with two cars spinning off in front of Salih during the first run. But despite the weather, Salih did well to set an excellent benchmark time that – combined with the times of teammates Ahmad Al Harthy and Charlie Eastwood – was quick enough for pole position in class.
With the weather not clearing up, the race was started under a safety car with Ahmad taking the first stint. Having maintained the lead throughout his hour-long run, Ahmad handed over to Salih to take the middle session, but moments later a succession of similar punctures to the rear-left tyre left the team down in fifth having been forced to make two additional pit-stops.
However, with the two leading Mercedes’ colliding, Salih was able to brilliantly capitalise on the misfortune to promote himself and the team back up to third in class, where he held on and closed the gap to second-place, before handing over the wheels to Charlie for the final stint; who managed the gap to bring the team home in third place in class.
Salih Yoluc: “It was good to get a podium especially after the punctures I got. We benefited a bit from the misfortune of others which is not nice, but that is racing. We’ll get back in Silverstone with hopefully a win.
“I am happy with the pace we showed during the weekend, the car felt good and we were on track for a better result. It’s bittersweet because we knew the win was ours after our pole position, but to recover to the podium is great result for the team. Not sure what happened with the punctures but I’m sure we’ll look into it to stop it happening again.”
A return to Spa-Francorchamps for the 6-hours is next for Salih in the GTE on the fourth of May.