Darren Turner got his FIA GT1 World Championship campaign back on track in Portugal this weekend with strong performances in both races at Portimao.
During Saturday’s qualifying session it became clear that the Nissans had the upper hand this weekend but Darren, and his team mate Stefan Mucke, managed to get up there and take fourth place on the grid for race two. Unfortunately a penalty for an engine change combined with an operational penalty left the No.8 Young Driver Aston Martin with a 13th place grid position for the qualifying race.
Darren was at the wheel of the DBR9 for the start of Saturday’s race and found himself in the middle of madness from the off.
“The lights went green very late so we were all bunched up and tripping over each other,” he explained. “As we went into turn three there was a lot of madness and I managed to find a gap and finished the first lap in sixth place. I had a good fight with a Lamborghini and managed to out drag him on the main straight for fifth place. I then had a really good battle with a Corvette and finally found a way through into turn one, taking fourth before I pitted.”
Stefan completed the race, carefully managing his tyres and making sure that a fourth place grid spot was in the bag for the big race on Sunday.
It was Stefan’s turn to start the race today and he got away cleanly and began to put pressure on Jamie Campbell-Walter’s Nissan ahead of him, whilst being chased hard by a Lamborghini. He pitted from third and a fantastic stop by the Young Driver mechanics meant that when Darren joined the race he was ahead of the Nissan, running in third place.
“I had David (Brabham) behind me so I did what he would have done and just tried to stay calm and make sure I didn’t make any mistakes,” said Darren. “I was running in third when I saw (Peter) Dumbreck retire from second so that took us up a place and we stayed there until the flag.”
“Considering we didn’t expect much from this weekend it was good to find that we were strong in qualifying and come away with second place this afternoon,” he continued. “I’m pretty happy with the result as it helps us to get our championship back on track.”