Darren Turner and his Aston Martin Racing team mate, Stefan Mucke, leave Brazil today as leaders of the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers, following an epic battle with the Ferrari 458 of Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni at Interlagos yesterday.
The No.97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE and the No.51 Ferrari spent the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo running within a blink of each other in what looked like two perfectly-matched GT cars.
Darren and Stefan were disappointed to qualify in third place for the race but knew they could pull back the places during the race so with this in mind Darren lined up to take the start yesterday afternoon.
The race start raised quite a few comments from drivers after the race as there was some confusion over the lights and Darren was one of the drivers who lost out, dropping down a few places. A thrilling drive though soon saw the British driver sail past fellow Aston Martin racer, Bruno Senna, and then set his sights on Kamui Kobayashi’s Ferrari, which he soon passed for third place.
“The start wasn’t great,” said Darren. “It really should have been a restart and as a result I lost a lot of places but I carefully worked my way up to second. After that the battle for the lead was on and we pushed and pushed for six hours to try to get past that Ferrari.”
The lead battle was a perfect example of how thrilling GT racing can be when the cars and drivers are well matched. The stints worked out so that it was Darren vs. Bruni and Stefan vs. Fisichella. Lap after lap the two cars didn’t give each other an inch and incredibly, after six hours of racing, Darren crossed the line just over a second shy of the Ferrari.
“Not one lap of that was easy,” said Darren. “There were no mistakes from either of us or the No.51 drivers so to finish with just 1.4 seconds between us is amazing. We had great pit stops from the team and Stefan, as usual, was incredible. We’re now leading the championship at the halfway mark, which is a great place to be as we head to the Circuit of the Americas for the first time.”
As Darren says, the Ferrari took the win in Sao Paulo but he and Stefan took the lead in the GT Driver’s World Championship. This result also lifts Aston Martin Racing to the lead of the GTE Pro Team’s championship.
The title battle moves to Texas now with Round Five taking place at the Circuit of the Americas in just three weeks’ time.