Aston Martin Racing scored their best result in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to date with a second place in the GTE Pro class at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo.
The result was made even sweeter as it came after strong run from the Vantage and driver Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke, who fought for the lead with AF Corse’s Gimmi Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella for much of the race.
Mucke started the Aston from pole position after Turner’s qualifying exploits the day earlier, but was caught out by a crash at turn four on the opening lap involving several LMP2 cars just ahead and dropped from first to last in the four car class.
However, he fought back up the field to challenge for the lead, a fight continued by Turner after the two driver swapped places at the first pitstop. It was after their second stop – Mucke back in control of the #97 car – that they assumed the lead when the leading Ferrari pitted.
However, while Mucke fought, now to defend rather than attack, he lost the lead in traffic to the #51 AF Corse Ferrari.
“We finished third at the Six Hours of Silverstone three weeks ago, so it’s great to be another step higher on the podium here at Interlagos,” said Turner. “The Vantage GTE was very fast throughout the race, so it’s a shame we had to do another stop towards the end. The track temperature changed a lot throughout the race, which made tyre choices both important and difficult but, the car ran like clockwork all day and even with the busy circuit, it was fun to drive. The second place finish is another step towards a win and, more importantly, the points will help us to maintain our championship position.”
In taking second place, a second consecutive podium after their Silverstone result Mucke and Turner added three more points to their margin over third place in the WEC points’ standings. However, there was slight feeling of frustration about the first lap delay when AMR managing director John Gaw spoke after the race;
“We completed almost 600 miles of competitive racing without any problems, proving the car’s reliability and durability,” he said. “The way we overtook every competitor in the GTE Pro class within the first half of the race also shows we have the potential to be the fastest on the track. Without the incident on the first lap, it could have been a very different race for us, but we are delighted to continue our WEC campaign with our best result to- date under our belt.”
The championship travels next to Bahrain later this month before closing out with races in Japan and China in October