An inspired effort from Tom Blomqvist led the HubAuto Racing team to a 16th place starting spot at the Total 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps before an engine changed forced a pit-lane start. Battling through the field, they climbed to 15th place before a late mechanical issue relegated the team to 23rd at the end of the race.
Hampered by engine issues on Thursday, Tom and the team were forced to miss night practice. Despite the lack of running, Tom's superb efforts in qualifying saw him post the ninth fastest time overall and meant the team were able to make their way into Super Pole. Tom was the first car out on track in a wet Super Pole session and, despite enduring the hardest of the conditions, qualified 16th out of the 20 runners.
Due to race regulations, the #27 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo was forced to start from the pitlane. Kamui Kobayashi occupied the driver’s seat for the race start and began their charge back through the field with the Japanese driver assuming the race lead in the early stages.
Excellent stints from Tom and Marcos Gomes propelled them further up the order. As the race reached the halfway mark, the team had gained over 39 places and were running firmly inside the top 20 despite having to make two unscheduled trips to the garage to replace faulty fuel pumps.
Setting the team's fastest lap of the race, Tom took the wheel for the closing stages. The 26-year-old pushed the car into 15th place and looked set for a top-20 finish until a drive train issue curtailed his efforts and dropped the Ferrari back to 23rd place in the final minutes of the race.
“Despite all of the problems we faced, we can be proud of how hard we pushed all weekend,” Tom said. “I was really pleased with how I performed in qualifying, especially as I was able to break into the top ten and get us into Super Pole. Whilst we would’ve liked to come away with more, we made the best of the situation and took the car from the very back of the field to inside the top 20. It was a shame we had the drivetrain problem at the end as I felt really good in the car and was lapping really well. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the team for their efforts both here and at Le Mans, I've throughly enjoyed working with them for two of the biggest races on the planet.”
Image courtesy of HubAuto Racing.