Prashanth Tharani completes maiden 12 Hours of Spa run inside Top 15 in class
Prashanth Tharani made his international comeback in a late call to compete in the 24 Hours Championship's Touring Car Endurance Series' 12 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps event, last weekend.
The Indian competed for British outfit Zest Racecar Engineering, driving the Seat Leon TCR V2 DSG - partnering with Viktor Davidovski and Boris Miljevic.
Starting the weekend in a wet Spa-Francorchamps, the team's practice session was cut short due to a sticker missing on its car, which they had to get on in time for qualifying.
The 20 minutes of qualifying was clubbed with the 20 minutes practice session. Tharani eventually ventured out in the qualifying session to complete four laps. Taking a cautious approach as per his team's directive, the Indian ended up 42nd overall and was 15th in the TCR class with a time of 3m21.607s.
The start of the 12 hours race was taken up by Davidovski, who ran in the first two hours and nearly dumped the car in the barrier at La Source, when he went wide at the corner after missing the braking point.
His stint was also compromised with an electrical issue with the team having to work hard to solve it on its own, without the proper factory support from SEAT. After the first part of driving from Davidovski and Tharani, the team made up good ground to be running 20th overall and ninth in class.
The next morning, the team had further troubles with the front splitter, as the team had to change the whole splitter mounts having encountered a bigger issue. As a result, the squad lost one and a half hour to fix the issues.
It was then a smooth couple of stints from the drivers including Tharani, before the Indian's third stint which took place under tricky conditions with the track drying up. The call was first to end Tharani's stint early with the changing conditions, but the pace advantage meant, the team left him to continue on.
However, as his stint neared its completion, it started to rain again. The wet tyres had already given up, but to the horror of the team, it suffered with a water hose issue, needing a further 45 minutes of repair.
Eventually, the team saw the chequered flag after completing 164 laps in 39th overall and 14th in the TCR class. The overall win went to #119 LMS Racing Powered by Bas Koeten, which completed a total of 215 laps in the Seat Leon TCR.
For now, the Indian has no firm plans for the 2018 season as he still looks out for sponsors - with the option to drive with Zest Racecar Engineering fully open.