LMGTE: Aston take first victory as Labre takes team title
In LMGTE Pro the dice had already been thrown in favour of AF Corse and Ferrari, the Italian constructor sealing the LMGTE Manufacturers’ World Cup well before the end of the season. However, the 6 Hours of Shanghai belonged to Aston Martin Racing, the well-deserved class victory being their first of the year. Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke had what amounted to a perfect weekend after qualifying in pole position and they finished 52 seconds ahead of the second placed No.77 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche.
The Anglo-German duo had a trouble-free run in the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE but it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park. Both the Porsche and the No.52 AF Corse Ferrari had turns at the head of the classification during the 6-hour race but a faultless run and good pit work saw them prevail over their rivals.
The result allowed Aston Martin Racing to secure its second place in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro teams in front of its German rivals. While the AF Corse Ferraris saw the chequered flag first on five occasions this year, the Italian team weren’t able to close out the 2012 season as they would have wished. The No.71 Ferrari 458 Italia of Andrea Bertolini, a former FIA GT World Champion, and Olivier Beretta finished on the third step of the podium but more than a lap down on the first two in class. Worse still, for a team which is used to great success, the No.51 sister car of Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni lost eight laps in the pits to repair a broken alternator and then had to retire because of an oil leak.
Conversely, Larbre Competition’s season couldn’t have finished any better. The French team’s No.50 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R not only took the chequered flag one lap ahead of its nearest rivals, the German Team Felbermayr-Proton, but also clinched the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am teams. Julien Canal and Patrick Bornhauser were superbly backed up by Pedro Lamy and enjoyed a completely trouble-free race. Larbre’s season might have tasted sweeter without the two exclusions for non-conformity of the regulations in São Paulo and Bahrain, but an appeal is waiting to be heard for one of these.
The pole position which Paolo Ruberti claimed yesterday gave the Felbermayr-Proton team an additional point but, by finishing second in the 6 Hours of Shanghai, the Italian and his team mates Christian Ried and Gianluca Roda saw their chances of championship victory slipping away. The German team finished second in the race and in the classification, just as Krohn Racing finished third in class and standings, Tracy Krohn, Nic Jönsson and Michele Rugolo driving the distinctive green No.57 Ferrari 458 Italia.
The 25,000 Chinese visitors over the first 6 Hours of Shanghai weekend were treated to their first Le Mans experience and the next visit on the 10th November 2013 will undoubtedly see even more fans travelling to the Shanghai International Circuit next year.