Aston Martin Racing will lead all five GTE championships going in to the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, following a 1-2 result in Shanghai.
Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke took the #97 Vantage GTE to the top of the GTE Pro podium, having maintained their top spot from pole throughout the race, beating Pedro Lamy, Bruno Senna and Richie Stanaway in the #99 sister machine by just 0.6 seconds after 6 hours of racing.
“That was a fantastic result, but it wasn’t easy,” said Turner. “The competition is so tough, especially from our own cars – the #99 gave us a real run for our money. The qualifying session was the hardest of the year, so to take pole and an extra point was great. The car was brilliant for most of the race. I had one difficult stint, but we managed to maintain the lead and take the race win, which is what we needed to do.”
The result means that Aston Martin now top the World Cup for GT Manufacturers, the #97 outfit now sits at the top of the Trophy for GTE Pro Teams, while Turner and Mucke take control of the World Cup for GT Drivers.
The success for Aston Martin was not exclusive to GTE Pro, however, with the British trio of Jamie Campbell-Walter, Stuart Hall and Jonny Adam taking the #96 Vantage GTE to third in GTE Am. The result was the #96 team’s fourth consecutive podium result, maintaining the lead in both the Trophy for GTE Am Drivers (Campbell-Walter and Hall) and the Trophy for GTE Am Teams.
“That was a really tough race,” comments Campbell-Walter. “Qualifying didn’t go well, but the team managed to sort the issues before the race. Jonny started and was unlucky to have a slight off after he was forced off the track by another competitor, but he fought back well. Stuart took over and, despite a few unavoidable incidents, managed to get us back up to fifth. Jonny took over and put in some cracking laps before I did the final stint and finished in third. It’s great to get another podium, but we still have work to do in Bahrain to win the GTE Am championships.”
The #95 Vantage of Christoffer Nygaard, Nicki Thiim and Kristian Poulsen led from pole for the first 100 laps of the race, before being forced to retire with an electrical problem.
“We came to Shanghai knowing from last year that the car was strong here,” said Team Principle John Gaw. “Although it was very disappointing what happened to the #95 car after an exemplary weekend by all involved with that team, it was good to get the job done with the other cars. We go to the final round of the Championship in Bahrain in three weeks’ time in a stronger position than when we arrived here in Shanghai. We know from last year that Shanghai was our second best circuit in this area and Bahrain our strongest so we look forward with relish to the opportunity to complete the job and achieve the key targets we set ourselves at the start of this year.”