Aston Martin qualifies on GTE pole in Shanghai

Shanghai – Aston Martin Racing will start the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Six Hours of Shanghai from the front of the pack tomorrow after qualifying on pole in text-book style.

At 13h25 local time, Darren Turner (GB) took the Gulf-liveried #97 Vantage GTE out on to the 5.4km Shanghai International Circuit for the start of a 20-minute qualifying session.

#97 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8: Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner
#97 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8: Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner

Photo by: James M. Holland

After immediately putting in what Team Principal John Gaw suggested was “his best lap of the year”, the team made the decision to return to the pits, preserve the tyres ahead of the race, and watch the rest of the session from the garage.

The flying lap time of 2.03.721 was more than half a second faster than the V8-powered Vantage’s closest rival the #77 Porsche – the car Aston Martin Racing has to beat in order to maintain its second place position in the 2012 WEC GTE Pro standings – but until the chequered flag waved in the qualifying session, changes were possible.

However, as the crew watched on and the session drew to a close, it was clear that Turner had done enough to secure the team’s third pole position of the year and third in the last four races.

Turner comments: “Throughout the free practice and warm up sessions this week, there has been a fraction of a second between all of the GTE Pro cars, so I knew we had to go out there today and do something special.

The car feels fantastic and it suits the track well so I was able to go out and put in a good lap time on my first flying lap. When we realised noone else was coming close, we decided to pit and conserve the tyres ahead of the start of the race.

“Of course a win here tomorrow would be a dream come true, but the main aim is to beat the #77 Porsche and finish second in the championship.”

John Gaw adds: “We knew from the practice sessions that there was a peak in the tyre performance this weekend. We therefore planned a fast first lap early on in the session, which Darren delivered perfectly.

It was a great first lap and probably his best lap of this year. He went out focused, the car was prepared perfectly and it all ran like clock-work.

“Qualifying is not so important in endurance racing when compared to sprint racing but, given how close competition is in this championship, 10 seconds over six hours could decide this race.

Starting on pole and possibly getting a clean run at the start of the race could be worth these ten seconds, so it’s good to start from pole.

“We always aim to win the races we enter, but the main objective this weekend is to finish ahead of the Porsche to secure second place in the World Endurance Championship.”

Aston Martin Racing is currently second in the WEC GTE Pro Championship with just one round remaining. The Six Hours of Shanghai starts at 10h00 local time/03h00 GMT on Sunday 28th October 2012 on the Shanghai International Circuit.

Source: Aston Martin

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Darren Turner , John Gaw , Stefan Mücke
Teams Aston Martin Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags aston martin, china, gaw, gte pro, six hours of shanghai, turner, wec