Darren Turner rounded off his 2015 racing season with a podium finish, taking third place in the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi on Friday. This was Turner’s debut at the two-part 12-hour race, which is held at the Yas Marina F1 Circuit.
The Aston Martin Racing works driver was called up to race the #44 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 alongside Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam. In a perfect display of teamwork, the three drivers all put in good lap times during qualifying and grabbed pole position for the start of Part One.
Adam was at the wheel of the Oman Racing Team Aston Martin for the start, which was marred by a collision between a Ferrari and a Porsche, bringing out the Safety Car for 12 laps. After being jumped by a couple of Mercedes at the start the mission for all three drivers was to keep the Vantage GT3 on the lead lap.
The rules of the Gulf 12 Hours mean that if you are a lap down at the end of Part One – the first six hours – you must start Part Two a lap down. They crossed the line in fourth position, still on that all-important lead lap.
Turner took the start for Part Two and as the circuit cooled the balance of the car improved. Despite not having the all-out pace of the leaders the three drivers were able to push harder in race two.
“The race was flat out all the way,” said Turner. “We did all we could and pushed hard to make sure we got that last podium place. Jonny and Ahmad did an excellent job during their stints and considering this was the first Gulf 12 Hours for this car and this team we were very pleased to get on the podium.”
The race had to be red-flagged with just eight minutes to go when two Ferraris crashed heavily after going off on oil but the #44 Aston Martin survived 12 hours of racing in hot conditions unscathed and on the podium.
Turner returns to the UK today, ready for some downtime before the racing season kicks off again in 2016!