TF Sport finished the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship season in the best way possible as their Aston Martin Vantages claimed the top two positions in the final round at Donington Park.
The weekend started well in qualifying on Saturday afternoon when Andrew Jarman and Jody Fannin combined to storm qualifying and plant the #27 Eurostar backed machine onto pole position.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag after the session, Jarman admitted that they were looking to use the title battle their rivals behind were engaged in to nip away and make something happen at the sharp end of the field.
That seemed to come good for them at the start of the race as Jarman – and team mate Derek Johnston in the sister #17 – stuck out their elbows and achieved themselves a one-two in the early running at the expense of those trying to challenge them.
It was mainly the #17 that found themselves in the early rough and tumble with robust moves on both the Ecurie Ecosse and Triple Eight BMWs seeing them move up.
They didn’t even sacrifice their good positions after the safety car came out to sort out the now stricken Ecurie Ecosse machine following a separate incident. If anything, the safety car seemed to help them as Jarman and Johnston worked in tandem to stretch their lead over Lee Mowle’s #888 BMW in third place.
After the pitstops, the positions of the two swapped with Matt Bell managing to leap frog Fannin with a faster out lap that allowed him to charge free down the road and grow a massive lead that would see him carry on his form of claiming a podium finish at Donington Park every season for the last four seasons.
Claiming victory for the #17 saw Johnston claim the first win of his British GT career, but for the #27 the whole thing could have come unstuck as they almost lost second place following a tangling with the Triple Eight on the last lap.
Fannin explained the incident to TCF: “On the final lap I caught four GT4 cars battling with themselves going down through Hollywood and I went up the inside of two of them and then one of them obviously didn’t see me and I had a big moment and then I had one more car in front and couldn’t get into the left and then at the Old Hairpin he turned in so I had to back out of that. That meant Joe was right on my bumper and I just thought ‘This is all I need!’ I went into McLean’s defending and then he just tapped me round, but we both spun and I managed to continue.
“He’s been up to apologise, there was no malice in it – he was just trying to get the cutback.”
Thankfully for Johnston, his car had no such issues – in the race at least: “I messed up in qualifying and that put my head in the wrong place, but we looked over data in the morning and saw exactly where I’d gone wrong. I then felt really comfortable in the warm-up session in the morning and headed into the race eager to get up the leaderboard. It’s my home circuit, so I had to go for it and I drove aggressively, but fair. I took the opportunities when they were there and it helped us build a massive gap to third position.
“Once Matt (Bell) was in the car I knew we could win it. He did an awesome stint and it feels incredibly to have scored a win, which is actually bitter sweet, as I feel we should have had more by now, but to get it at the final round is awesome.”