Heartache for the Aston Martin runners at 8hr finale of the 2021 WEC season

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Congratulations to the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Am crew of Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera for claiming the 2021 Drivers and Team’s Championships in the most emphatic way possible.

From that, you can safely deduce that the final round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship sadly did not go in favour of the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE of Ben Keating, Dylan Pereira and Felipe Fraga as their final hope of Championship success disappeared on the opening lap after contact with the #98 Northwest AMR of Paul Dalla Lana.

Whilst Keating was to later question incident responsibility towards the Canadian, it mattered not to either crew as both had to visit pit lane to replace broken wheels losing each of them virtually one lap and the Championship for the #33 crew.

Again, we saw another extra-ordinary opening stint from Tomonobu Fujii aboard his #777 D’Station Racing AMR who like last weekend, took his green car from P11 in class to take the class lead within the opening hour although he would be penalised for contact in taking the class lead with a drive through penalty.

They too were to suffer further misfortunate in the race before darkness had even fallen as Satoshi Hoshino was rudely spun around by the #85 Iron Lynx Ferrari dropping them down to the middle order.

By the third hour, the three Aston’s had recovered to all be running within the middle order of the class but the #83 was already at the top end of the timing screen as the race transitioned from day to dusk and then onto night conditions.

The #98 again got spun around into the fourth hour as the #88 Dempsey Proton Porsche lunged in for position stealing away valuable time recovered by them since their lap one incident.

At the halfway stage, the #33 was up to P3 in class (albeit due to differing pit stop strategies from those around them) but the final nail in their 2021 season was to come just after halfway through Keating’s next stint in the car (then in P6) when a late lunge by him into T1 caught the #54 AF Corse off guard and contact was made between the two cars.

Taking the car into the garage for front quarter suspension repairs – that was it for the #33 cars season as, despite gallant repairs from the team, the car would later return to pit lane to be retired from the race.

A cruel end to the season for the Aston Martin runners as none of the cars were able to establish a run sequence that would ‘put on a good show’ if nothing else after the last gasps of championship ambition were extinguished. Like Keating said earlier in the race, the season had been blighted with lost opportunity but with lessons learned and now complete familiarity with the team and machinery, 2022 will be stronger year for the American.

The best placed Aston was the #777 D’Station Racing car of Fujii, Hoshino and Andrew Watson as they rounded off their first full WEC season with an Aston in P8 with the #98 Northwest AMR of Dalla Lana, Fraga and Gomes in P11 and the last of the runners.

The #83 AF Corse Ferrari completed the race and Championship winning season by winning the GTE Am Class although todays results were still enough for the #33 crew to be confirmed as 2021 GTE Am Vice Champions.

It’s been a great year – not quite what we had first hoped but that’s motor racing. We are certainly looking forward to 2022 already but the next step for all three cars will be tomorrow's Rookie Test - something we get the feeling will be used by AMR to determine the winner of this years Driver's Academy?

Photo credits – Adrenal Media / AMR / TF Sport

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