PROMISING START FOR TURNER Darren Turner's 2009 Le Mans Series campaign got off to a strong start in Barcelona this weekend. The end result was a non-finish for the 009 Aston Martin but all the signs are pointing towards a fantastic season of ...
PROMISING START FOR TURNER
Darren Turner's 2009 Le Mans Series campaign got off to a strong start in Barcelona this weekend. The end result was a non-finish for the 009 Aston Martin but all the signs are pointing towards a fantastic season of racing for Darren and the team.
A near-perfect performance during qualifying meant that Darren secured Aston Martin's first front row grid position. His lap of 1:32.9 was enough to take second place, behind the Ginetta of Danny Watts. On the following lap Darren was faster again in sector one but the red flag came out and he had to abort his pole attempt.
"I was very satisfied with qualifying," said Darren. "We hadn't had much running on new tyres and low fuel so I was very happy to take second place. Maybe I could have challenged for pole on my next lap; we'll never know. I think it shows that I'm adapting to the LMP1 category though and it certainly bodes well for the season."
When the lights went green this afternoon it was Darren who took the start in 009. The pole-sitting Strakka Racing car caused some confusion by slowing during the rolling start, but once everything settled down Darren was running in third place.
Darren completed one and a half hours in the car during his first stint, pitting during the two brief safety car periods and handed the car over to Harold Primat in second place.
"It was great to get out there and do such a long run in the car," he said. "It was a big learning period for me; learning about the car but also about how to deal with the traffic when you're in one of the fastest cars on the track."
The race continued to run smoothly for 009 and with just one hour of the race remaining Miguel Ramos was on track in third place with a lap in hand to the fourth-placed car. Then, with 50 minutes to go, Miguel had a spin at turn four and couldn't get the car restarted so that was the end of the road for 009.
"Miguel and Harold both did a great job today; their pace was good and they both had smooth runs. Miguel was unlucky with his spin. It's a frustrating way to end a race but we know the performance is there and we can move on to some great results later in the season. One real positive to come out of it was that the spin brought out the safety car which closed up the field and allowed the sister car, 007, to challenge for the victory."
Darren's next race won't last for six hours, hopefully, as he is running in the 2009 London Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 26 April. The next Le Mans Series race takes place at Spa on 10 May.