Penalty ends victory chances at WEC Silverstone
Salih Yoluc left Silverstone Sunday evening disappointed, despite taking the runner-up spot in the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Such was the pace from Salih and his TF Sport teammates, they overcame a 75-second stop-go penalty in the six-hour race to claim second position. However, it was the top step of the podium that he and the team wanted and deserved.
With wins in GT Open, European Le Mans Series and most recently the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup at Silverstone, Salih was aiming to make it four straight wins in four differing categories as the home of British motorsport.
Teaming up with Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood in the #90 Aston Martin Vantage, Salih tested ahead of the event and the team went into the race weekend confident of a good result. The team worked through tyre options during Friday practice before Salih qualified third fastest in the LMGTE Am class.
Whilst the time was impressive, Salih knew he could deliver more in the race and so it proved to be. The opening lap of the six-hour race was chaotic, with Salih making a great getaway from the rolling start to lead the class by the end of the opening lap before running in a comfortable second position.
As the stint progressed, Salih picked up the pace, whilst keeping the #77 and #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsches behind, before handing over to Charlie who maintained second position ahead of Salih’s second stint.
Very much in the hunt for the win entering the third hour, Salih kept the pressure on the leader whilst continuing to defend from behind. However, a Safety Car period followed and being near to the end of his stint, he pitted after the minimum three laps. Unfortunately, while the Safety Car had completed the three laps, the pit lane remained closed and the team picked up a 75-second stop-go penalty later in the race.
Jonny took the penalty at the start of his run, dropping from the lead of the field to second, a position he maintained to the chequered flag. With 36 points on the board, Salih is now fifth in the standings.
“We had an excellent car and an excellent package,” Salih said. “We were the fastest car out there but not fast enough to overcome a 75-second penalty. For the championship it’s not good as the #77 car won and that’s a big points move between us being first and second which makes things very hard for us. It’s hard to be happy with a second position when you should have won but now I look ahead to Japan and China and our first WEC win.”