JMW Motorsport: Darren Turner LMS 1000km of Spa race report

Monday, May 10, 2010

Darren Turner’s Spa 1000kms almost came to a sticky end yesterday when he and his JMW Motorsport team-mate, Rob Bell, found themselves battling with a sticking throttle in the No.92 Aston Martin Vantage GT2. Both drivers had off track excursions as a result of this so the race effectively became a test session. It was a fruitful one though and the throttle problem now seems to have been solved.

Both Darren and Rob showed great pace in the Vantage GT2 in the practice sessions at Spa. Darren qualified the car in 10th place after losing out in traffic when a red flag foreshortened the 20-minute qualifying session.

“I think we had the pace for the top five,” he said. “But I got stuck behind a Porsche on my flying lap. It wasn’t too much of a drama though as 10th is okay for an endurance race. The main thing is that we knew we had some good pace in the car.”

The start of the race on Sunday was full of drama and anyone who managed to stay on the slippery track was doing a good job. Darren had a clean start and moved all the way up to sixth before the throttle problem showed itself around 40 minutes into the race.

“The track was very slippery, especially at the top of Eau Rouge,” he explained. “You have to be careful to stay off the kerbs and keep it neat. We had this throttle issue at Ricard but it hadn’t shown itself since then so of course we thought it had gone away. It reappeared as I went through Les Combes and I managed to hold onto it but when I got to turn eight it fired me off into the gravel. Luckily I missed the wall so I could carry on, although my tyres were flat-spotted and I had been knocked down to 12th. I stayed out but it happened again four or five times during my stint. I also had a coming together with a prototype that decided to drive me off the circuit!”

After two hours on track, Darren pitted to hand the car over to Rob Bell. Rob later suffered the same fate as Darren at turn eight but he hit the wall and had to pit for lengthy repairs. The team worked hard to address the throttle problem and Rob returned to the track to complete the last hour of the race. There were no throttle issues from that point onwards.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted,” said Darren. “But we showed good pace, even when we were nursing a technical problem and it looks like we have found the solution to the throttle issue. This all bodes well for the team as they head to Le Mans in a few weeks. I look forward to being back with them for the next LMS round at Portimao in July.”

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