|A late race driveshaft failure put an end to Salih Yoluc’s second 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday (17 June, 2018) in what had been a trying weekend for TF Sport and teammates Euan Hankey and Charlie Eastwood.
With a clear ambition to become the first Turkish driver to win at Le Mans, the weekend of racing proved to be disappointing. The team had a trouble-free run through practice and qualifying to line up sixth in the GTE Am class. Euan started the race with a single stint before Salih took over with a double, running well in eighth position for over an hour.
Salih was back in the car at 9pm for another double stint but it was overnight where the first major drama occurred. With Charlie at the wheel, a car ahead lost a significant piece of bodywork and that stuck the #90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, resulting in the bonnet loosening and then detaching. Nine additional minutes were lost in the next pitstop to fit the spare and this dropped the team outside of the top ten.
Salih was back in the car Sunday morning for a further double stint, reaching the six-hour minimum driver requirement. Shortly afterwards however the starter motor failed, costing additional time to restart the car in the subsequent stops. The final straw came with less than two hours remaining when Euan made a mistake and took to the gravel trap, resulting in a driveshaft failure.
“Everything went wrong but we kept pushing on,” Salih said. “I ran early on in the race and even then it was a real battle on the track and I was caught up in slow zones that cost us over a lap. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support, sometimes it’s not meant to be.”
Salih’s next race is at the Total 24 Hours of Spa where he teams up with Euan, Darren Burke and Felix Rosenqvist in the #49 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for round five of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup 26-19 July.