Young Driver AMR: Big team effort in Abu Dhabi

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Young Driver AMR started with a really big team effort into the 2011 season of the GT1-World Championship. After a setback in a troubled Qualifying Race, when neither of the two Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin DBR9 saw the chequered flag, both cars fought back in the Championship Race. In a great recovery, Stefan Mücke (GER) and Darren Turner (GBR) finished fifth, Alex Müller (GER) and Tomas Enge (CZE) finished one place behind their teammates in sixth position.

The Qualifying Race didn’t went as expected. Darren Turner started from Pole-Position and stayed in the lead for the first half of the race. After the driver change, a problem with the wheel nut forced Stefan Mücke to retire the number eight Young Driver ANR-Aston Martin DBR9. Tomas Enge in the sister car started from third, but had a crash in the first corner and had also to retire the car in the pits.

But the task to start from the back of the grid into the Championship Race after to the two retirements in the Qualifying Race, shouldn’t be this weekend’s biggest challenge for Young Driver AMR. After the start crash of Enge, the Aston Martin DBR9 was heavily damaged at the front and right side. In less then four hours, the Young Driver AMR-team repaired the Aston Martin and enabled Enge and teammate Alex Müller to start into the Championship Race.

From the back of the grid, both Young Driver-Aston Martin then had a good start into the Championship Race. Stefan Mücke stormed to the front, once the starting light turned to green and jumped from 15. to eight position in the very first lap. He subsequently overtook another car, until he handed over the DBR9 to teammate Darren Turner. During the second part of the race, Turner also gained two positions and finished fifth. In his maiden race with Young Driver AMR, also Alex Müller coped with the challenge to start from the back. Müller battled trough the field and handed over the car to Tomas Enge in 11. position after a quick pit stop. Enge finally finished sixth, just one spot behin Darren Turner.

After the season opener Young Driver AMR is third in the team championship. The Young Driver AMR-team heads now quickly back to Europe, as they start already next weekend at the season opener of the Le Mans Series in Le Castellet with their brand new Aston Martin Vantage.

Driver quotes after the race:

Tomáš Enge (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “The most exciting race was the race against the time to get into the Championship Race today, after the accident in the Qualifying Race. At the start of the Qualifying Race, I stayed too long at the inside-line, where the track was very slippery. I didn’t miss the braking point, but there was simply no grip at the inside and unfortunately I badly damaged our Aston Martin, when I hit another car. Our mechanics then did an absolute mega job, when they managed to repair the car in time for the Championship Race, I also tried to help them as much as possible with repairs. I really have to say my apologizes to the team. They prepared the cars so well during the off-season and today they showed again, how strong we are altogether. Finally it was great to get some points in the Championship Race. But we collected some points and it was a much better result then last year. The task for the next races is now to be consistent up in the front.”

Alex Müller (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): „First of all, I have to thank our crew, who were able to repair our car for the race. My start into the Championship Race wasn’t good, I stuck behind some other cars, but managed to get trouble free through the first corner. During my stint, I had some bad vibrations in the car, we must now analyse if this was caused by the tire or something else. We had a good pit stop and I finished sixth in my first race with Young Driver. Although we collected points, I not entirely satisfied with myself this weekend. The car is bit different to the car, which I last drove last time and I spotted some details where I have to work on myself. But let’s wait for the next race at Zolder, I’m very optimistic for the next round and not only because that’s my hometrack.”

Stefan Mücke (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): „I had a good first lap, I spotted a small gap in the first corner and it was big enough that I could go through and make up some positions. The start was crucial for our result, as all cars are so tight-knit that’s it’s difficult to overtake on this track. After the troubles in the Qualifying Race, our position in the Championship Race is o.k. We got some good points, but no penalty weight.“

Darren Turner (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): „During my stint, I stuck behind another Aston Martin. I had the feeling that I was a bit faster, but couldn’t manage to overtake him. Before the weekend, we thought fifth would be great result on this track. But after our performance in the Qualifying and Qualifying Race, I’m a little bit disappointment.”

Hardy Fischer (team principal): “The day didn’t start very well with the bad result in the Qualifying race, but finally the day had a positive end. Our mechanics did a really amazing job, when they repaired the car of Tomas and Alex in less than four hours. There are certainly not many teams around capable of doing this in this very short amount of time and I’m really proud of my crew. After that big effort, we were rewarded with a fifth and sixth place. We collected some good points with fifth and sixth place and will certainly attack at the next race in Belgium in two weeks.”
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