Aston Martin Racing will start the final race of the FIA World Endurance Championship season from GTE Am pole, and the second row in the GTE Pro class.
The team enter the final round of the year leading the LMGTE Manufacturers’ World Cup, needing a top finish to guarantee the title. The top two scoring cars from each manufacturer count towards the title, and Aston Martin take only a 17.5 lead over Ferrari and 33 points over Porsche to Bahrain.
“That was a fairly frustrating session but ultimately a good qualifying position,” commented Darren Turner, who could only manage third in the #97 Vantage GTE, which currently leads the LMGTE Pro Teams’ championship. “The first lap was okay but on the second I was near a GTE Am car so backed off to find space. I went for another fast lap only to be blocked by a Porsche on the in lap so had to abort. Towards the end of the session it was tight on time but I managed to go for a fourth lap and did enough to put us in third. It wasn’t the best lap because of tyre wear but ultimately we did enough.”
“We are here with an aim of winning the champsionship, but when it comes to what we do in the race we can’t do more than we’ve been doing all season,” added Stefan Mücke, who shares the #97 car with Turner, as well as the lead in the LMGTE Pro Drivers’ Championship. “We will try to have a clean race but we expect it to be tough – it will be similar to São Paulo in difficulty. It’s important that we make no mistakes and do what we always do to put ourselves in the best possible position to win the championship.”
GTE Am saw Nicki Thiim and Christoffer Nygaard take class pole for the sixth time in the eight race season, the seventh for Aston Martin. Kristian Poulsen will join the duo for the race.
“The car was really good today, the best we had all year,” said Nygaard. “We struggled a bit in free practice but in qualifying it just all came together. We’re all looking forward to the race and we’re hoping to convert this pole into a win. We’ve not had a great year until now, so it would be nice to end on a high.”
Team-mates Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall will start from third in GTE Am, where they will be joined by Roald Goethe for the race. The #99 of Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway and Bruno Senna will start from fifth in GTE Pro.
“It’s great to be on pole position with the #95 car and #96 had a strong qualifying too,” concluded Team Principal John Gaw. “In GTE Pro, the drivers had difficulty getting clear laps to run their best times but being ahead of our closest contenders for tomorrow was quite critical and we achieved that. From free practice it looks like the Vantage GTE is strong on longer runs so that should really help us in the race. Of course we will need to be at our best in all areas to be at the top come the end of the race tomorrow and we are looking forward to that challenge.”