Darren Turner took the chequered flag at his first Dubai 24 Hours this afternoon in third place overall after a great Dubai race debut for the Craft Racing AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
The British racer’s regular team-mate, Stefan Mucke, also joined the team for this race and it was the German who qualified the Aston Martin in third place while Darren was tasked with taking the start.
“Everyone was pushing hard from the word go but I decided to play it cool and understand the tyre situation,” he explained. “As the stint went on the fast guys got slower and we got faster so it was good close racing. I had a tricky moment with a yellow flag when I had a run on the BMW in front of me. I dived through on the inside and also managed to pass the Mercedes to take the lead but then I thought ‘that was too easy’, looked around for the flags and realised there were yellows so I backed out of it sharpish!”
Unfortunately the No.15 Aston Martin lost time at the end of Darren’s stint when a ‘Code 60’ was called just after he passed the pit lane entry. This meant he had to complete a full lap at 60kmh before he could pit and he lost two laps to the leaders in the process.
“That’s one of the anomalies of this race,” said Darren. “The safety procedures in place such as the Code 60 can do a lot of damage to your strategy. They like their penalties here too. I think we have had about five but I’m sure others had even more than that.”
The Craft Racing crew had a steady run through the night in Dubai and by morning the car was hovering around eighth place. The task for today was to pick their way back up the order and the drivers duly delivered by taking the Aston right up to third place for the finish.
“I want to congratulate the Craft Racing AMR team on the great job they did, especially when you consider this is their first 24 hour race,” said Darren. “They are fairly new to sportscar racing with new drivers so everyone has had to learn to work together. Stefan and I are like husband and wife now though so at least that part of the puzzle was already in place.”
“The car held up brilliantly throughout the 24 hours,” he concluded. “This is a hostile environment for a race car what with all the sand. The team, although new to 24 hour racing, didn’t miss a beat and kept the car running night and day. It was a pleasure for me to come and race with them here in Dubai.”