Darren Turner took the Bilstein-liveried #007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 to an impressive fifth-place finish at the Nurburgring 24 Hours today. Along with his team-mates, Stefan Mucke and Pedro Lamy, Darren avoided the major dramas that befell other competitors to take his best ever Nurburgring 24 Hours finish.
Minor technical problems cropped up during the practice sessions at the Nordschleife earlier in the week but the trio of drivers managed to earn a slot in the Top 30 pole position shootout. Stefan duly took ninth place, which was then put back to 14th for a yellow flag infringement.
Over 160 cars took the start of the race, which got underway at a frantic pace for a 24-hour event. Pedro was behind the wheel for the start and he made his way up to eighth before the first pit stop.
Unfortunately the first stop showed that the team had an issue with refueling and the fuel wasn’t going in fast enough.
“We lost 90 seconds in the first stop,” explained Darren. “Then we lost 30 seconds, then 10 seconds, and then the guys were able to work out what the problem was and find a solution that we could run for the rest of the race.
“Once we got to the halfway mark the race really came alive for us,” he continued. “We had found the sweet spot with the car so we were able to plough on and start to make up the time we had lost.”
With many of the other runners suffering crashes and multiple punctures, the #007 Aston Martin got through the entire 24 hours with just one, albeit lengthy, stop and go penalty and a single puncture.
All three drivers rattled through their stints as the Vantage ran like clockwork. It was a tough race for a squad of three drivers, unlike for most of the other teams who ran four drivers for this event. For Darren though, only one driver would have fitted the bill for the #007 car.
“Today is a year to the day that we lost Allan (Simonsen),” he explained. “Last time we were here, he was in the car with us and we could’ve done with him today. A year on we still miss him very much.”
“I’m pleased with today’s result,” Darren concluded. “Our target was to finish so to finish fifth feels great. We’ve learned a lot and I must thank the team, who are all still tired from Le Mans, as they did a tremendous job. The car is the star though: the Vantage took a pounding here and didn’t miss a beat.”