Second place for Salih Yoluc in eventful 6 hours of Spa
TF Sport and Salih Yoluc battled through the snow, hail and rain to secure a successful podium in an action-packed race on Saturday at Spa.
Partnered with Charlie Eastwood, the duo secured the teams’ maiden World Endurance Championship pole position, by setting a combined time of 2:16:061.
Having lost the lead at the start, Salih held on to the back of the lead as the snow began to fall. Soon after, a safety car was released and after a quick-stop for fresh tyres, Salih re-joined the race back in the lead.
Amidst the restart, the #90 dropped to fifth, but with the team using patience to their advantage, Salih’s initial laps and benchmark were vital in the ultimate race result.
Euan Hankey stepped into the Vantage for the second stint. With the sun shining throughout his role, he was able to maintain fourth place before handing the car over to Charlie for the final three hours.
Much like Salih, Charlie fought through difficult conditions and multiple safety car periods. But the team played their strategy perfectly as Charlie found himself in the race lead with one stop left to make.
Unfortunately, the Porsche was too quick in the wet conditions; and Charlie fell into second-place but kept within touching distance before making his final stop. With just half an hour remaining, the weather took a turn for the worst with heavy rain and sleet lacing the circuit and the race was red flagged, prematurely finishing the race as runners up.
The result means TF Sport and Salih have collectively closed the gap in the championship, forcing it to be concluded in Le Mans next month.
Salih Yoluc: “It was a crazy race. We had four seasons in six hours! We had a strong package in the dry, but the car is just too old to fight with the new ones in the wet on an aero track. I started the race well and then it started to snow. When we boxed we gambled on drying wets which was the wrong choice for those conditions and I struggled a lot and lost positions, until the weather got a bit better. Then it dried out and we looked very good for an easy win at that stage, but then it started raining/snowing again!
“At the end we climbed back to P2 and if the race went for ten more minutes we would have won as the Porsche in front was going to run out of fuel. I can’t believe the level of unluckiness we have had this year. This is the fourth time that we should have won but lost it on such small differences. I’d be lying if I say I’m happy with the result, but we aim to win in Le Mans and will see what happens after, if we can do that.”