Darren Turner was back in business in Bahrain yesterday, finishing the final race of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship on the podium in third place, along with his team-mate Jonny Adam.
All of the Aston Martins had a balance of performance adjustment before Bahrain. Once the practice sessions got underway on Thursday it became apparent that they were back in contention.
Turner and Adam had to wait until the race to take full advantage of their pace as they both had trouble with traffic during qualifying.
“It was frustrating for both of us,” said Turner. “I was held up by (Andrea) Bertolini who was on his out lap and Jonny got held up too so we weren’t able to show the potential that we had at that point.”
After a couple of wet races the ‘6 Hours of Bahrain’ got underway beneath sunny skies and without the assistance of a safety car. Adam was in the #97 Aston Martin for the opening stint before handing the car over to Turner after an hour. The drivers single stinted throughout the race in order to keep up the blistering pace in hot conditions.
“It was one of those races where every lap was flat out,” commented Turner. “We ran at a good, strong pace and sometimes the traffic worked for us and sometimes against us. Bahrain is a very busy circuit. You can lose a lot of time tripping over an AM car whilst being lapped by a prototype. There’s something about the configuration of the track that means we all end up congregating in the same area at the same time. You just have to make sure it doesn’t stop your rhythm for too long.”
As the team’s strategies played out, the #97 Vantage GTE ran in the top five throughout the race. With an hour to go the #95 Aston Martin came out of the pits in front of Turner but he managed to make his move into the turn four hairpin, grabbing third place which he held onto all the way to the chequered flag.
“After the year we have had it was so good to get onto the podium; it actually felt more like a win,” said Turner. “It’s always good to end the season on a high, especially for the crew of #97 who have worked so hard this year. They did the fastest Aston Martin Racing pit stop of the whole season during today’s race, which just proves that they were pushing right to the end and never gave up trying.”
Turner remains in Bahrain today as he is testing the 2016-spec Aston Martin Vantage GTE. The WEC season may now be over but he will be back in the Middle East next month for the Abu Dhabi 12 Hours where he will race the Motorbase Aston Martin Vantage GT3.