Samantha Tan doubles up and wins Abu Dhabi 6H
Two out of two: Canadian driver-owner Samantha Tan wins the inaugural 6 Hours of Abu Dhabi and continues her perfect streak in the Creventic 24H Series.
2021 sure has started with the right foot for Samantha Tan, the Canadian 23-year old driver-owner of Samantha Tan Racing.
Founded in 2017, the team has previously competed in the Pirelli World Challenge and GT4 America Series, winning back-to-back the SprintX Silver class. After entering the 2020 Dubai 24 Hours as a one-off, the Canadian outfit decided to commit to a full season in the 24H Series in 2021.
At the traditional season opener in the UAE, Samantha Tan, Chandler Hull, Jon Miller and Nick Wittmer stormed to victory after a flawless race at Dubai Autodrome, taking their first victory of the season in the GT4 class. One week later, Tan and Miller doubled up and claimed the top step of the podium in the first ever edition of the 6 Hours of Abu Dhabi, a non-championship race by Creventic hosted in Formula 1's famous venue of YAS Marina Circuit.
Driving the #438 BMW M4 GT4 to TG-class pole position on Saturday morning, Jon Miller set the tone for the remainder of the weekend, despite it was the first visit to the Abu Dhabi circuit for the duo Tan-Miller.
The 6H of Abu Dhabi wasn't all plain sailing for ST Racing though: a technical issue was discovered right before the start, which meant some extra work for the Canadian team's mechanics. When the car did make it onto the grid and was set for yet another success, a late pitstop issue dropped Tan-Miller almost two laps down with 40 minutes left on the clock.
Miller had completed the first 90-minute stint approximately one minute clear of the closer competitor and Samantha ran smoothly throughout her first stint. But, when she got behind the wheel after the final slow pitstop, the young lady from Ontario was forced to charge back through the pack to regain the top spot.
The race in the TG category remained open until the very final hour: after gaining two full laps of advantage following ST Racing's pitstop troubles, the #101 Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR driven by Ivo Breukers, Rik Breukers and Max Hanratty held the lead, before the Dutch team also hit trouble and came to a halt on track in the closing hour.
Samantha Tan fired back into P1 and never looked back, finally crossing the line to take her second win of the season in as many races, showing again impressive race pace after her flawless drive in Dubai.
The #218 Sally Racing CUPRA DSG of Peter Obel, Mikkel Obel and Martin Sally Pedersen had a strong run and finished second in TG class, ahead of the PK Carsport BMW M2 (Bert Longin / Peter Guelinckx / Stienes Longin) which classified third and sixth overall.
“What a great way to start 2021, with two back-to-back wins!" - said an ecstatic Samantha Tan. "It was an incredible experience getting to drive the famed Yas Marina Circuit. I steadily dropped my lap times over the course of the three practice sessions, which set me up perfectly for the race."
"The team gave us an amazing car once again, so Jon put the car on pole during qualifying. The race went relatively smoothly, however the refueling took an extensive amount of time, which caused us to change our strategy throughout the race. But we pushed hard for the last hour and brought the car home 1st in-class."
"Altogether it was a stellar run by Jon and I, and I’m so proud to bring home another win with my team. It was so special to have the Canadian anthem played at the podium. Definitely a weekend to remember”, she concluded.
“It’s a dream result to win the Hankook 24H DUBAI and then follow it up with a win in Abu Dhabi one week later" - echoed Jon Miller.
"ST Racing came here prepared to fight for wins, and the results are validation of our effort to show up with all of the right pieces in place. There was some pre-race drama when the crew was thrashing to fix a mechanical issue discovered minutes before the green flag. I was the last car to the grid, but the issue was resolved and our BMW M4 GT4 proved to be fast and reliable."
"Samantha drove two killer stints and was behind the wheel at the chequered flag, which I know was a special moment for her. When the Canadian national anthem played during the podium ceremony, I could see the pride beaming from my teammates’ faces. We’re proud of our early season results, and more motivated than ever to keep pushing for more.”
The Creventic 24H Series will now move to Europe for the 12H of Mugello on 26-27 March, the second points-paying round of the 2021 championship.