Duncan Tappy put his hard-earned car management skills on show at Silverstone as early damage left him nursing an injured Mercedes home around the famous old circuit in his debut for the Black Falcon team.
In a return to the Blancpain Endurance Series, Duncan teamed up with Oliver Morley and Andrii Lebed to qualify their #19 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG an encouraging 5th in class.Morley took the first stint but the car was almost immediately hit by another, suffering right rear damage and developing vibration issues. The misbehaving car also earned the Englishman a drive-through penalty for running wide, before he handed over to Lebed for an uneventful second stint.
When Duncan took over for the final dash to the flag it was immediately obvious to him that the Mercedes had problems: “When I got in the car it didn’t quite feel right. It wasn’t slowing down properly and it didn’t feel right on the gear changes – it felt as if the throttle wasn’t returning as it should.
“It made everything unstable, but I just had to deal with it, finding how to drive around the problems and nurse the car home. It meant I wasn’t driving as quickly as I could have done, but I managed to bring it home P9 in class.
“After the race they found the throttle return spring had snapped, which explains why the pace wasn’t as good as we hoped. However, without the drive-through we would probably have had P6 and, considering what had happened, the pace wasn’t too bad.
“It has given us more confidence we can have some good results in the future.”
He said that despite the problems it had been a positive debut weekend with the team finishishing as the leading Mercedes SLS in class and second overall.
“It was my first time racing the SLS and driving with Black Falcon, so it was really, really nice to get to know the car and the team.
“I actually adjusted to the car really quickly – I felt comfortable almost straight away and the times reflected that in practice. I was also able to tune the car to everyone’s liking a bit more.
“It was a pleasure to drive with Oliver and Andrii, and I’m really looking forward to getting back out and driving the Mercedes again at Paul Ricard.”
The Blancpain Endurance Series arrives at Paul Ricard on the weekend of June 29-30. Before then, however, Duncan will be back in action for Von Ryan Racing, driving a McLaren in the British GT Championship at Snetterton on June 15.
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