Young Driver AMR: back in the business in GT1 World

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Young Driver AMR experienced an almost perfect weekend at the seventh round of the GT1 World Championship in Le Castellet/France. After a second and third place in Saturday’s Qualifying Race, the two Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin DBR9 repeated this success in Championship Race. Stefan Mücke (GER)/Darren Turner (GBR) finished second in front of their teammates Alex Müller (GER)/Tomas Enge (CZE). The double podium secured one of the best result of Young Driver AMR in the GT1 World Championship, no other team collected more championship points in France then Young Driver AMR.

The whole weekend at the Paul Ricard HTTT at the French Riviera went much better then expected for Young Driver AMR. The 5.8 km long track is not ideally suited for the Aston Martin DBR9, but Young Driver AMR coped with the challenge and was rewarded with a double podium. Tomas Enge started from the front row in the Championship Race and was followed after the start by Stefan Mücke, who started third. Enge chased the leading Nissan, but couldn’t bring his Aston Martin in a position to attack. The running order of the two Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin DBR9 in the chase of the leading Nissan changed at the driver change, when the third placed number-8-car of Mücke/Turner had a bit better pit-stop then Müller/Enge in the number 7 car.

After the driver change, Darren Turner took the most out of his tires and closed the gap to the leading Nissan to under one second. In the latter part of the race, the Nissan pulled a gap on Turner, but the experienced British man was able to close the gap in the final laps and crossed the finish line after one hour of racing just 0.8 seconds behind the leader in second place. Alex Müller successfully defended a Ford GT and Nissan during his stint and secured another podium finish with a great third place. The double podium finish brings the Young Driver AMR team again in contention to the championship leaders with the team moving up to third position in the team standings, only 10 points behind the leader with still three races to go. Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner are now fourth in drivers ranking with Alex Müller and Tomas Enge fifth.

“We had an almost perfect weekend after so much bad luck at the last round”, Young Driver AMR-team principal Hardy Fischer was delighted. “I’m really satisfied with the weekend, we grabbed a lot of points in the team championship and are now back in business in the championship. Our pit stops were really good. The entire team and the drivers did a perfect job today. I hope this success will continue at the next two races in China, which will be a bit unknown for everybody.”

Driver quotes after the race:

Alex Müller (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “The pit crew of the number 8 car was a bit faster then our boys today and they overtook us in the pits. Compared to the last two days, the track conditions changed today and not in our favour. We struggled a bit with the set up and oversteering at the end, but I could still defend the third place and brought another podium finish home.”

Tomáš Enge (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “At the start of the race, Stefan (Mücke) really gave me a hard time, but I managed to hold the second place. Then I pushed a little bit too hard and after a few laps, I had a massive drop in my tires. Today the track changed not in our favour, I struggled with rear tire performance. But I’m really happy with the result for the team, that’s the first time Young Driver AMR has both cars on the podium of a Championship Race. Third place is great, that gives us a good amount of points and not so much success ballast for the next race.”

Stefan Mücke (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “At the start, I was running side-by-side with Tomas (Enge), but then backed off to give him room. After that, I had a really clean stint and controlled the distance to my pursuers. I could save tires and stayed behind Tomas. We decided for a really early pit stop, which was a good decision. The pit-crew did an tremendous job and put us in second place with a good stop.”

Darren Turner (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): „We had a really good pit stop and had a good set of tires for my stint. I had a good out-lap after the stop. I like out laps, that is something were you can really make a difference. Then I pushed hard and smelled blood when I surprisingly could see the leading Nissan very near in front of me. But suddenly there was a noise in the car and I gave way, before we knew what was going on and I made sure everything was o.k. with the car. It’s a great result to have both cars on the podium here, as we didn’t expect to be so strong here.”
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