Double pole for Aston Martin in Fuji

Aston Martin drivers qualify on pole position in both GTE classes at the Six Hours of Fuji

Fuji, 29 October 2013 - Aston Martin Racing has qualified on pole in both of the GTE classes for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Six Hours of Fuji.

In the GTE Pro class, the team locked out the front row, with the #97 starting tomorrow’s race from the front of the grid and the #99 from second. In the GTE Am class the #95 Vantage GTE also took pole position with the #96 narrowly missing out on second place by a tenth of a second and taking the third place spot.

Fred Makowiecki (FR) started off in the #97 and, after his two mandatory laps, had put the car on provisional pole and set the fastest lap of the session, a 1:38.605. The Frenchman, whose experience at the circuit – thanks to his Japanese Super GT Series campaign – makes him a valuable addition for the #97 as it looks to strengthen its WEC championship bid.

Frédéric Makowiecki, Bruno Senna
Frédéric Makowiecki, Bruno Senna

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“Last year it was tricky here for Aston Martin Racing,” comments Makoweicki. “We have worked hard to get a good solution for the tyres so it’s better this year. It’s a track of compromise; there is a fast first half and a slow second half so it’s not easy. We’ve made good progress and in FP2 we found a good set up. Tomorrow will be wet so it will be different again but we should still be competitive.”

When Makowiecki had finished his stint, German Stefan Mücke took over and put in his laps, which were good enough to secure pole for the pair, who will be joined in the car tomorrow by Darren Turner (GB).

“We had a clear run with only a little bit of traffic,” explains Mücke. “We did our four laps without doing any extras, which is good for the tyres. Although we will probably be on different tyres tomorrow due to the rain that is forecast. As always, the team did a great job and we’re looking forward to having a good race tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Pedro Lamy (PT) and team-mate Richie Stanaway (NZ) both put in two very consistent lap times to take second place in the GTE Pro class.

In the GTE Am class, the #95 Vantage GTE was fastest, with Bruno Senna (BR) and Christoffer Nygaard (DN) behind the wheel. Senna joins the team for this race as regular driver Nicki Thiim (DN) is unable to attend. Senna was brought into the team to help score some championship points in Fuji but he will return to the GTE Pro class for the remaining rounds of the championship.

#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8: Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway
#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8: Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“It’s very good to be on pole,” comments Senna. “I was asked to come and help these guys get points for the championship and this is the first step towards doing so. It’s a different car to the one I usually drive in the GTE Pro class, so it’s good to get a strong result on my first outing. It’s actually very good considering that this same car had difficulties here last year. The car is performing well. In the wet tomorrow it will be a bit of a lottery for all the teams but, with good strategy and luck on our side, we can get a good result.”

Nygaard adds: “Its great to have Bruno on board. We’ve been close to pole position at the last two races and now we are here, so he’s obviously given us the extra boost that we need. Now we just need to turn this into a race win tomorrow.”

The sister car, the #96 Vantage GTE, which has won the last two rounds of the championship, battled it out in the highly-competitive session. British duo Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall put in solid laps to start the race from third position.

Team principal at Aston Martin Racing, John Gaw, comments: "So far, so good this weekend and, given how tough a challenge we found this circuit last year, it’s great to see the step change progress the team have made in 12 months. The Michelin tyres are working extremely well this weekend on all of the cars and this has really helped us achieve four great race starting positions.

"It looks like the weather will change for tomorrow and, if that is the case, it will require the engineers to make the right decisions on set-up changes given that we now go straight to the race. The cars have been strong during wet running so far this year and scoring the maximum points is a realistic aim now that we are at the front of the grid and in the critical run to the end of the championship.”

Aston Martin

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Darren Turner , Pedro Lamy , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Eric Gilbert , Stuart Hall , John Gaw , Bruno Senna , Stefan Mücke , Frédéric Makowiecki , Paul Dalla Lana , Christoffer Nygaard , Nicki Thiim , Richie Stanaway
Teams Aston Martin Racing
Article type Qualifying report
Tags aston martin, aston martin racing, fuji, gte, japan, lamy, makowiecki, nygaard, senna, stanaway, thiim, vantage