Silverstone: Series qualifying report

Double delight for Aston Martin Aston Martin completed a one-two in the Qualifying Race at Silverstone with the No.9 Hexis Racing AMR of Frederic Makowiecki and Thomas Accary leading home the No.10 sister car of Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio ...

Double delight for Aston Martin

Aston Martin completed a one-two in the Qualifying Race at Silverstone with the No.9 Hexis Racing AMR of Frederic Makowiecki and Thomas Accary leading home the No.10 sister car of Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio Piccione.

In bright, dry conditions on the new Silverstone circuit, the Aston Martin pair scored eight and six points respectively for their efforts. They were joined on the podium by the Vitaphone Maserati of Michael Bartels and Andrea Bertolini.

The pole sitters, Darren Turner and Tomas Enge produced a dogged drive in the Aston Martin No.7. Turner produced the best lap of the race of 2:00.536 in the process.

Enge, driving the first stint, had eked out a healthy 21 second lead at the head of the pack in the early stages. However, he was handed a drive-through and Turner a stop-go penalty for twice cutting the pit lane entry which dropped them down the standings.

Despite the setbacks, Turner brought the Young Driver Aston Martin DB9 home in fourth place.

It was also a difficult day for the winners of the first Championship Race in Abu Dhabi, the No.5 of Romain Grosjean and Thomas Mutsch. Starting 15th, Mutsch had climbed steadily through the field to sniff a chance of a finish inside the top 10 when the car snapped on him entering Becketts.

Lying 13th at the time, the mishap cost six places and the pair eventually finished a lowly 21st.

Accary was delighted to win on his maiden GT1 outing. "Today was incredible for me, it's my first race in GT1 and I achieved a victory," he said. "I had one goal before I started the race today which was to get into a good position for Frederic and thankfully I did that.

"Because this was my first race in GT1, I really felt the pressure. This was noticeable in my first lap which I had to recover from so I pushed hard all the way and I'm really pleased with the result."

Makowiecki added: "The team have worked very hard to get the car set up properly which has paid off. The car was very strong and very consistent which meant we could be very soft with the tyres.

"Tomas's [Enge] mistake at the beginning of the race definitely helped us. I was conscious that a mistake would badly effect our ranking because the race is so short. So I played it safe but still at my best."

Hirschi and Clivio, starting from sixth on the grid, capped a perfect day for Team Hexis AMR. "I am very happy with our result today, second is a good place to start tomorrow's race," Hirschi said.

"It definitely wasn't easy though. The last lap was probably the hardest for me, the tyres started to wear down quite a lot so I was happy to see the finish."

Clivio said that his plan of trying to save the tyres at the start paid off. "The plan at the start was to move forward up the grid so I saved the tyres at the beginning so I could make some good time later on. Thankfully this worked well for us."

Bertolini said he had to overcome a small problem during his stint. "We did have an issue with the car at the beginning, there was something wrong with the fuel but it was OK," he said.

"The car was very balanced and set up well for the circuit but unfortunately the track ended up very dirty in the last 10 laps so that didn't help."

His Vitaphone Maserati team-mate Bartells, the reigning FIA GT1 champion, was pleased with third. He said: "Another four points to our tally is a good result for the overall championship," he said. "It's important to score points consistently in the series.

"I had a good start from third place, I was pushing to the limit but I got pushed to the left in the first corner and went onto the dirt slightly. I was quite annoyed with that part but for the rest of the race it seemed everybody gave enough space and that made a great GT car race. I really enjoyed it.

"I like the new Silverstone circuit layout, it's actually working well for our Maserati so I'm happy about that this weekend. I did enjoy the last layout as well but the new layout is interesting."

"As for tomorrow, it will be excellent to fight for the Tourist Trophy, I think the Aston Martins showed a brilliant effort today so we'll have to keep that in mind. I do think that the race winners will be decided in the last 20 minutes tomorrow."

Tomorrow's Championship Race starts at 5:15 local.

-source: gt1world.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Tomas Enge , Darren Turner , Michael Bartels , Clivio Piccione , Frédéric Makowiecki , Romain Grosjean , Thomas Mutsch , Thomas Accary , Jonathan Hirschi