Aston Martin Vantage GTE leads GTE Pro class at halfway mark

Sunday, August 26, 2012

At the halfway point of the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Six Hours of Silverstone, the #97 Vantage GTE is leading the GTE Pro class, with a four second lead over its nearest challenger. In the GTE Am class, the #98 car is in third following a close battle at the front of the pack and the #99 car follows hot on its heels.

Following qualifying yesterday, the #97 Vantage GTE started from fourth on the grid and thanks to a fantastic first stint from Darren Turner (GB), climbed up to second place less than an hour into the six-hour race. The gap to the leader was closing quickly, but the car was pitted for fuel and tyres, postponing the challenge. After 26 laps of the 1.85-mile circuit, team-mate Stefan Mucke took over the wheel of the V8-powered Aston Martin and carried on the battle for first place.  By the 71st lap the #97 car was leading the GTE Pro class.

In the GTE Am class, Stuart Hall (GB) was first out on the track in the #98 car and managed to maintain his pole position for twenty laps until contact with another car lost him two positions. After 52 laps he changed for team-mate Roald Goethe (D), who is currently in fourth place.

In the #99 car Jonny Adam started and climbed up from fourth to second within his first stint. At 52 laps he pitted for tyres, fuel and a driver change to Paul White (GB), who is in currently in third position. Andrew Howard (GB) will complete the driver line up when he takes over the wheel later in the race.

Aston Martin Racing factory driver, Darren Turner comments: “We started really well and we have shown how great the car is. There’s a big difference between the race and practice sessions/qualifying, which can be a bit of a lottery. I felt that we made good progress getting up onto the tail of the leader within one stint and now Stefan has taken the lead we are in a great place. There are still three hours to go and our nearest competitor doesn’t need to refuel as often as us. We may have the advantage on laps, but they have the fuel advantage – that’s why we need to push so hard.”

Aston Martin Team Principal John Gaw adds: “Everything is going to plan in all three of the Vantage GTEs. The #97 car is exactly where we wanted it to be at this point in the race – leading with a four second gap behind us. The pit stops have been fantastic and our reliability is flawless – we just need to keep this up for the remainder of the race and push as hard as we can.”

Aston Martin Racing

Image: Richard Leach
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