Aston Martin complete Silverstone one-two

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Aston Martin ruled the roost in a gripping Championship Race at the second round of the FIA GT1 World Championship weekend at Silverstone.

Following an exciting debut in Abu Dhabi, the FIA GT1 format again provided plenty of exciting racing throughout the field.

Darren Turner and Tomas Enge took the chequered flag in their Young Driver AMR No.7 to claim the coveted RAC Tourist Trophy. The pair led home the Hexis Aston Martin DB9 of pole-sitters Frederic Makowiecki and Thomas Accary.

The final place on the podium went to the British duo of Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes who produced a strong performance in their Sumo Power Nissan GT-R.

The heavy overnight and early morning rain gave way to dry conditions for the main event. Nonetheless, the incidents and accidents began as early as the first turn, where the Abu Dhabi race winner Romain Grosjean was sent spinning out of the race in a cloud of tyre smoke in the Matech Ford GT.

The battle at the front between the Aston Martins was intense up until the pit window opened for the mandatory driver change.

The contest was eventually decided in favour of Enge when Accary received a drive-through penalty for a pit stop infringement which he served with seven minutes of the hour-long race remaining.

Turner and Enge joined an illustrious list of Tourist Trophy winners dating back to 1905. They join the likes of Tazio Nuvolari, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Denny Hulme.

Turner said: “Winning the Tourist Trophy is a genuine honour. It’s amazing I have to say. It’s so rewarding to have my name engraved on to this trophy it is such an honour. It’s like when we won at Le Mans. An amazing feeling.

“Today’s race was obviously a good one for us. I started on the outside of the grid so there was a danger of being squeezed onto the outside, onto the dirt. Luckily that didn’t happen.”

“It was great to get Tomas out and on track quickly. The team have worked really hard on improving our pits stops and it paid off today. We got Tomas out fairly early because we think in these circumstances, if were towards the front, I think it’s more beneficial to get the next car out on the new rubber.”

Enge added: “For the first five or six laps I was trying to catch the leader up. I knew about the penalty but i didn’t see him turning into the pits so I wasn’t sure if the penalty was actually going to happen.

"I was trying to keep pushing and get as close as possible and find a way to get ahead but at that time I overcooked the tyres. We experienced it in Abu Dhabi, it happened here as well.

“We had initial pace at the beginning of the race but it slowly got worse so I think we need to work on our endurance capabilities so we can keep the tyres alive for longer periods.

"This is why I started to slow down a little bit but I was also stuck behind one of the Mad-Croc Corvettes. Generally the race was under control which I’m happy about, obviously the team is a new team to the FIA GT series so I’m happy to bring the first victory here at Silverstone.

"I’ve heard a lot about the Tourist Trophy, I’ve heard what it means to the British drivers and the British people to win the Tourist Trophy so I’m very happy about this, very proud."

Despite the drive-through incident, Makowiecki was pleased with the result. "We had a mistake at the driver change and with the tyres," he said. "Overall though the race was successful but we need to learn very much because this is the first season in this new championship so it’s new to us."

Accary, who held a 20-second cushion over his third place rival at the time of driver change, added: “I made a mistake in the pit stop so I had to take a drive-through penalty but thankfully that didn’t effect us too badly. I’m very happy about the result we had, I want to thank the team for all the work they have put in this weekend, and they have made a fantastic car.”

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