The Gulf-liveried #98 Vantage GTE Pro car, driven by Bruno Senna (BR), Fred Makowiecki (FR) and Rob Bell (GB), took second place in the six-hour race following a competitive performance by all three drivers. Their prospects of challenging for the race win were dashed when an untimely safety car interruption caused them to fall behind their competitors in the early stages of the race.
Danish GTE Am trio Allan Simonsen, Kristian Poulsen and Christoffer Nygaard also finished second in class having pushed their 2012-specification #95 Vantage GTE to its limits for the duration of the six hours. The result completed a double podium success for Aston Martin Racing and backs up the #95 car’s convincing race win at the season opener at Silverstone.
The #97 Vantage GTE Pro car of Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Peter Dumbreck (GB) was unable to repeat its Silverstone victory as its also fell foul of the early safety car period. Having shown competitive pace through the weekend, it narrowly missed out on the podium to finish fourth in class as the chequered flag fell. Pedro Lamy (PT), Paul Dalla Lana (CN) and Aston Martin Racing newcomer Richie Stanaway (NZ) finished in seventh in the identical #99 car.
In the GTE Am class, the #96 car piloted by Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Stuart Hall (GB) and Roald Goethe (D) finished fourth in a highly competitive pack of nine cars.
Bruno Senna comments: “It’s a great result and we’re pleased to get so many points in the bag, but we also had a lot of bad luck today. The safety car came out after the Ferrari had pitted and before we had, so it played to their advantage. Still, we adapted our strategy and double stinted our tyres. It worked well and we made up time but we just didn’t have a enough left in the tyres for Fred to catch the lead Ferrari.”
Rob Bell comments: “It’s fantastic to get a podium on my first race with Aston Martin. However, we always race to win so we’re not completely happy. What we have proven is that we have the pace to be competitive at Le Mans and that Bruno, Fred and I work well as a team; we’ve really gelled.”
Allan Simonsen adds: “We had bad luck today and it cost us the win, but getting second place points to add to our win at Silverstone has given us a solid start to the season. We are leading the GTE Am class and that’s a strong position to be in so early on in the season. We are looking forward to challenging for the win at Le Mans.”
John Gaw, Team Principal at Aston Martin Racing comments: “Like at Silverstone, we came here with the objective of scoring maximum points and preparing thoroughly for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unfortunately, the timing of an early safety car effectively ended our hopes of repeating the Silverstone double victory, but surprisingly we were able, with the reliability and pace of the cars, to almost close back the full half lap we lost.
“As expected, our competitors have made significant steps forward since Silverstone so we look forward to getting back to the workshop and working on the cars ahead of Le Mans. We are particularly encouraged to once again to finish the weekend without a single issue with any of the cars. The drivers – having had an error-free weekend – are, like the cars, well prepared for the 24-hour race.
“Thanks to all the team and partners who have enabled us to head into the most demanding race of the year leading the championship.”
(Image: Gerlach Delissen)