Darren Turner and his Aston Martin team-mate Richie Stanaway won the inaugural ‘6 Hours of Mexico’ on Saturday after a dominant display at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. This result rockets Turner into the lead of the GT Drivers Championship standings.
The duo qualified the #97 Aston Martin on the front row of the grid for Round 5 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, just one-tenth of a second shy of the #95 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen.
It was Stanaway who took the start and after the first hour the #97 Aston Martin was running a few seconds behind the race-leading #95 of Nicki Thiim. Turner then jumped in for his first stint, going head to head with Sørensen who was now behind the wheel of the #95 car.
“My stint against Marco was good, apart from the traffic,” said Turner. “It can be really frustrating where you catch traffic. Sometimes it goes in your favour and you get a free pass on the straights and other times you can get in a jam and lose time.”
The turning point for #97 was Stanaway’s stint in the middle of the race. It started to rain but Richie stayed on slicks and managed to haul in and pass #95 for the lead. Turner then took over and completed a double stint to finish the race, for most of which he was under pressure from the #51 Ferrari.
“The last hour and half was really stressful and the pace of the competition was really strong,” said Turner. “We had a bit of a buffer at that stage but the team was telling me how many laps I had left to go and what the gap was so I could work out what pace I could go at in order to have a gap at the end. I worked out that we would be alright and I could throttle back a bit and not take any risks and it all worked out perfectly.”
Turner crossed the line almost 10 seconds clear of the #51 Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado and took maximum championship points.
“It’s a great feeling to be leading the championship and hopefully I can keep that momentum until the end of the year,” he said. “It was a fantastic result for everyone in the team and especially for Dunlop to get their first win in GTE Pro with us. This helps hugely with the manufacturer’s championship points too and I think we can go forward for the rest of the flyaway rounds with the confidence that we’re in good shape to take on the title fight”.