The FIA GT1 World Championship’s first trip to China ended on the top step of the podium for Darren Turner today. The British driver and his German team-mate Stefan Mucke took the win in the championship race in Beijing after finishing second in this morning’s qualifying race. It was a great weekend for the Young Driver AMR team, which now leads the Team’s Championship standings after taking a 1-2 finish in both Beijing races.
The points scored in China also elevate Darren and Stefan to second place in the Driver’s Championship standings with just one more race weekend to go.
Qualifying took place in dry conditions yesterday and between them Darren and Stefan took a very strong second place on the grid. It was down to Darren to take the start of the first race today and the conditions couldn’t have been more different as rainstorms hit Beijing.
Darren got away well in second and then took the lead a few laps in when the leader went off. He pitted from the lead but as Stefan left the pits he stalled and he joined the race in third place. He recovered to second, setting up a front row start for the championship race this afternoon.
The second race had to be started under the safety car as the rain got progressively heavier in Beijing. The cars were then let loose but not for long as the safety car had to come out for a second time.
“The race went live again just before the pit window opened,” said Darren. “Stefan came in and we managed to jump our team-mates car but then got jumped ourselves by the Hexis Aston. It happened again a lap later with a Ford but I managed to get past him on his out lap.”
This put Darren in second place but with just six minutes to go the lead Hexis car went off and Darren took the lead. Rather fittingly the race then finished under the safety car!
“Overall we have had a great weekend,” said Darren. “I’m surprised with the results, especially in such horrendous weather, but it has been great to take the maximum points for the team. We’re going to have a very heavy car at San Luis but I hope we can keep pushing the Nissan boys all the way to the end. I went to Argentina last year in second place in the championship so history is repeating itself. Hopefully that stops here as I finished up fourth last year!”