Darren Turner leaves Silverstone tonight with a bag of 10 FIA World Endurance Championship points after bringing the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE home in fifth place in the opening round of the 2015 season.
Along with his German team-mate Stefan Mucke, Turner took third place in qualifying under the new system where the qualifying time is an average of the best lap set by each of the two drivers.
The Aston Martins performed strongly in qualifying with the three PRO class cars taking the top three positions. Turner’s #97 car was disadvantaged on the straights when a communications error meant that it was running the wet aerodynamic set up from the morning session, which took place after heavy rain. Despite this Turner and Mucke’s aggregate time was still strong enough for third place.
It was Turner in the driving seat for the start of today’s six-hour race and the battle began at turn one!
“The start was a bit chaotic with the LMP2 cars but this played to my advantage and I managed to sneak up the side of Richie (Stanaway) through turn one and then make it stick into turn two,” explained Turner. “I was happy to get up to second place but didn’t have the pace to match Nicki (Thiim) who had the lead.”
Unfortunately an early full course yellow (FCY) changed the race for all of the Aston Martins who had already pitted under normal race conditions before the yellow was thrown, which allowed their rivals to pit under caution.
“That’s how it rolls with the full course yellows,” said Turner. “They stabilise the race in a fair way but they can also give a huge advantage to those who are coming up to their pit stop window.”
Even with the early setback Turner and Mucke finished the race in fifth place, collecting their first world championship points of the season.
“It certainly wasn’t the weekend we were hoping for but after the first pit stops it could have been a lot worse,” said Turner. “The last couple of days have been good experience for the team. We will learn from this weekend and when we reconvene at Spa in a few weeks time I think we will have made real progress.
Turner concluded: “All five Aston Martins ran faultlessly today and we had success with the #98 car in the GTE-Am class so that was a nice result for the team and the drivers in that car.”