Darren Turner’s Japanese WEC weekend ended in frustration on Sunday when he and his team mate Richie Stanaway had to settle for sixth place in the ‘6 Hours of Fuji’. Despite this result Turner retains third place in the GTE driver’s championship standings.
For Saturday’s qualifying session the team made a strategy call to save a set of tyres for the race, which meant that only one set was used in qualifying. Turner and Stanaway would line up in sixth place for the race but with an extra set of fresh rubber in hand.
Stanaway started the race and although he moved up to fourth place immediately, by the end of lap two he was back in sixth place again.
“There was a balance of performance adjustment before the weekend on both the engine restrictor size and the aerodynamics of the Aston Martin which undoubtedly had an effect on our performance,” said Turner. “We maximised everything we could and ran a faultless race but we weren’t on the pace of the competition this time.”
Turner’s first stint was a difficult one and he found himself struggling with the balance of the car so it felt like a very long 39 laps! Fortunately his second stint was a lot better.
“I was relieved when I jumped back in for my second stint as the car was handling the way it had done in the practice sessions so there were fewer surprises!” said Turner. “Aside from a little bit of contact with the #50 car it was an enjoyable and trouble-free run.”
After six hours of racing the two Pro Aston Martins that had started the race in fifth and sixth places, finished it in fifth and sixth!
“It was definitely one of the more processional WEC races,” said Turner. “We didn’t have the form that we have showed in the last few races so hopefully when we get to China we will be in with a fighting chance.”
Turner now heads to Estoril in Portugal where he and the Beechdean AMR team still have a shot at the European Le Mans Series title.