Young Driver AMR: Two double victories and championship lead

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Young Driver AMR experienced the biggest success in team history at the inaugural race of the GT1 World Championship in Beijing. The German Aston Martin-team took a double victory in the Qualifying Race and also in the Championship Race in very difficult wet conditions. Stefan Mücke (GER) and Darren Turner (GBR) claimed their first win of the season in a Championship Race in their Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin DBR9 and came second in the Qualifying Race, while Alex Müller (GER) and Tomas Enge (CZE) won the Qualifying Race and finished second in the Championship Race in the Gulf-liveried Aston Martin DBR9. With the dominating performance in China, Young Driver AMR leads the team championship with only one race to go in Argentina.

It was very easy to make a mistake during the two incident packed races in difficult wet condition on the very tricky Goldenport track in Beijing. Many of the competitors of Young Driver AMR in the fight for the World Championship struggled and made mistake during the Qualifying- and the Championship Race. But not so the four “Young Drivers”, the pit crew or the engineers at the pit wall. The zero-error job of the entire team rewarded Young Driver AMR with the biggest success since the team was founded in late 2009 by Jan Struve and Hardy Fischer.

At the start of the Qualifying Race, Darren Turner and Alex Müller were in second and third position behind the leading Ford GT in very difficult wet conditions. When the leading Ford spun, Turner took the lead in front of Müller. The driver change then saw a change in the running order of the two Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin, when Tomas Enge was quicker out of the pits then Stefan Mücke in the sister car. Enge maintained the lead until the finish, Mücke in second place secured the double victory and a complete Young Driver AMR front row for the Championship Race.

Weather conditions then even got worse for the Championship Race and the race control decided to start behind the Safety Car. When the race was declared green, some competitors spun and the Safety Car deployed again. After a lengthy Safety-Car period, the race was declared green for a couple of laps, before the pit window opened for the mandatory driver change. Enge maintained the lead in the first half of the race in front of Mücke, but as in the Qualifying Race, the pit stop brought a change of position. With a 2,6 second faster pit stop, Turner left the pits ahead of Müller, but both were running in second and third position behind another Aston Martin, who took the lead in the pits. When the driver of the leading Aston Martin made a mistake with only five minutes to go and subsequently found himself in the gravel trap, Turner took the lead and finally the secured the first victory in a Championship Race for Young Driver AMR in 2011 ahead of Müller.

Young Driver AMR now leaves China with all chances for the World Championship crown in the drivers- and team championship. With only one race to go in Argentina in November, Young Driver AMR is leading the team championship with eight points in front of the Nissan-team JRM. For the second consecutive year, “Young Drivers” are also in contention for the driver’s title with Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner in second position, only eleven points behind the leaders. Alex Müller and Tomas Enge are fifth in the Championship and also having a slim mathematical chance for the title.

Young Driver AMR stays now for another day in Beijing and will take part in a demo race in front of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing on Sunday evening under floodlights in front of an expected crowd of 250.000 spectators.
Driver quotes after the race:

Hardy Fischer (Young Driver AMR principal) “I really love China! These great two double victories are a testament to the team. No one can make the job any better than all members of our team today. I’m so proud of my team. The drivers didn’t make any mistakes in these difficult conditions, the pit crew did a fabulous job and we made the perfect calls. The icing on the cake is that we also lead the team championship now. This results means we have a good amount of success ballast for the final round in Argentina in both cars, but we have been strong there last year.”

Alex Müller (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “It’s a great result for the team today and we made a big step forward in the team championship. After we won the Qualifying Race, we are for sure a bit disappointed, that we couldn’t take the win in the Championship Race also. But for the team, we secured the best possible result. The cars were prepared perfect and extensive pit stop training was rewarded today. As a team, we win and we lose together. And also all four drivers did an excellent job, because the conditions were difficult and it was easy to make a mistake, like we saw many of our competitors did.”

Tomáš Enge (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “We had a really good morning and won the Qualifying Race, and it’s a bit of a shame that for the second time this year, we couldn’t win the Championship Race for the same reason. But this has been a very good weekend and it’s of course good that our teammates won the race, then any other competitors. We were surprisingly fast this weekend and leave China with a great result. Now I can’t wait for the last round in Argentina.”

Stefan Mücke (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “I’m very happy to finally score my first victory in the GT1 World Championship, especially in these very chaotic race, were it was very easy to make a mistake. We started behind the Safety-Car and when the race was declared green, the Safety-Car came out just after one lap. So until the drivers change, I only raced five laps under green. When we saw already in the Qualifying Race what happened at the start and in the opening laps, we decided not to take too much risk in the race and give only 95%. We then had a good stop and finally could take the lead, as we didn’t make any mistakes.”

Darren Turner (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin DBR9): “It was a great weekend for the team and it feels so good for everybody to lead the team championship. It was very difficult in the wet conditions and our main objective was to pick some points for the championship and that obviously worked very well. That we also have a go in the drivers’ Championship now is fabulous.”
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