|In what is his biggest and most ambitious season of racing, Salih Yoluc made a great start to his FIA World Endurance Championship programme with a fighting drive to second position as the season got underway at Spa-Francorchamps.
“It was a good result,” said Yoluc. “The Porsches were super-quick around here and, in some ways, we gained from the problems they had but we also drove without any mistakes, so I am very happy with the result. For my own performance, I am happy. The first stint was more straight forward, the second was tougher as out of the 25,26 laps I only had three or four that were actually without any traffic. It was a little crazy, so it was about managing that and I think I do an okay job there. Overall very happy with the result.”
Racing alongside Euan Hankey and Charlie Eastwood, Yoluc qualified the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage first before handing over to team-mate Hankey. A small error with the setup however resulted in a sixth position on the grid. However, with a six-hour endurance ahead, Yoluc was confident of a podium position.
Yoluc started the race and immediately gained two positions to run in fourth position in what was a trouble-free first stint for most runners. He completed 25 laps before handing over to Eastwood and then taking his second and final stint of the day at half distance and in second position, despite some pit stop errors, that left him adrift of the leading car.
Hankey was charged with the final stint of the day and with a safety car being deployed in the final stages, this set up a great battle for the victory between the #90 Aston Martin and the works #98 entry being driven by Pedro Lamy.
Hankey gave his everything but just could not make the pass stick – despite side-by-side racing - but it was still a sensational debut for the team and Yoluc in the championship as sites now turn to first the Blancpain Endurance Cup at Silverstone and then Paul Ricard before the Le Mans test at Circuit de la Sarthe and the 24-Hour race itself – the biggest race of the season.
“I think the car will suit Le Mans better than here at Spa really, as it’s not one of our strongest circuits. Le Mans is the big one and we want to win it and I’m sure we’ll be fine pace wise and we just hope for a little luck too!”