Every racing driver has a race to forget each year and for Darren Turner it is the Fuji round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship.
Arriving at Fuji Speedway fresh from a win at the last round in Texas, Darren and his team mate Stefan Mucke quickly knuckled down to work and took second place in qualifying, just behind the #99 sister Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Tyre choice for the WEC races is made many weeks ahead of the event and it was decided that the #97 Aston Martin would take the soft and the medium tyre. The #99 car went for an extra set of softs so while Darren and Stefan had to qualify on the medium tyre, the drivers in the #99 car got the jump on them.
“They did a great job in the 99 car,” said Darren. “We were still happy to have a front row starting spot but we knew we would have to get a good start in order to get ahead of #99 and break away from the Ferraris.”
Darren took the start of the race but trouble was waiting, just around the first corner.
“I got away well and got myself alongside Fernando (Rees) in the 99 car going into Turn One,” he explained. “When I got on the brakes it was all a bit lively as my tyres weren’t up to operating temperature. I ran out of grip and locked up so when Fernando turned into the corner I was still going straight. We had contact that put me into a spin, into the path of a Porsche.”
The contact damaged the splitter of the Aston Martin, which translated into a huge vibration when Darren got back up to speed. Despite this it was decided that he should soldier on, which he did for over 20 laps before pitting for repairs.
This meant that the #97 Aston Martin would spend the remainder of the race in fifth place - around four laps down – and unable to gain ground unless a car ahead fell into trouble.
“This is the reason why we are all addicted to racing,” said Darren after finishing in fifth place. “You go from one extreme to the other – the highs of Austin to the lows of Fuji. The need for that high is what will make us quickly bounce back for Shanghai.”