FIA GT1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP KICKS OFF IN ABU DHABI The first round of the new FIA GT1 World Championship took place at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Darren and his team-mate, Tomas Enge, did all they could but had to settle for an 11th ...
FIA GT1 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP KICKS OFF IN ABU DHABI
The first round of the new FIA GT1 World Championship took place at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi this weekend. Darren and his team-mate, Tomas Enge, did all they could but had to settle for an 11th place finish in the main race after being hit at the first corner during the preceding qualifying race.
The F1-style qualifying session took place on Friday evening but it didn't even make it to the end of the first of its three parts as a big accident for one of the Matech Ford GT drivers brought out the red flags and ultimately ended the day's running when the barriers couldn't be mended fast enough. Darren was making rapid advances at this point but had to settle for eighth as the session was stopped just as everyone's times were improving.
Darren's team-mate, Tomas Enge, was tasked with taking the start of Saturday's first one-hour race, known as the qualifying race. He got away well at the rolling start but a Maserati spun at the first corner and took a chunk out of the side of the DBR9 and destroyed one of the rear tyres. He was also hit by a Corvette from the other side so it was impressive that Enge managed to limp back to the pits.
"Tomas ended up in a Maserati/Corvette sandwich at the start," said Darren. "It's good that he got the car back to the pits as it gave the team time to fix it before the main race. There was a lot of damage so the team did well to get us back on track again."
Darren took the start of the championship race, which ran late into the evening. Although the Aston Martin was one of the first cars out of the qualifying race he lined up 16th as many cars had received grid penalties for technical infringements.
When the lights went green Darren got away well, making up a few places in the melee at turns two and three. Then, going through the back chicane he made up a few more by avoiding the drama and finding a clear line through.
"It was hard work as we are struggling a bit for pace," he said. "At one point I had two Corvettes behind me but there was no way I could hold them there as they are two or three seconds a lap faster than us. I had a good scrap with Peter Kox though and managed to keep him behind me until the pit stop."
The Young Driver AMR team got the car turned around fast and Tomas joined the race to take the DBR9 to the chequered flag, finishing in 11th place.
Darren's next race is the London Marathon, which he is running on behalf of CLIC Sargent on Sunday 25 April. If you would like to sponsor him in his attempt to break the four-hour mark you can do so here: www.justgiving.com/BRDC-marathon-legends/.
The next round of the FIA GT1 World Championship is at Silverstone on 1/2 May. That is of course if the aeroplanes start flying again and everyone gets back from Abu Dhabi in time!
-source: darren turner