Aston Martin takes 1-2-3 in China to lead FIA World Endurance Championship

3138_AMR_WEC2013_Rnd7_ChinaShanghai, 9 November 2013 – Aston Martin Racing has finished in first and second place in the GTE Pro class and third in the GTE Am class in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Six Hours of Shanghai to lead a total of five championships going into the final round.

The result puts Aston Martin at the head of the World Cup for GT Manufacturers title race, while the victorious #97 Vantage GTE climbs to the top of the Trophy for GTE Pro Teams standings. Drivers Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (DE) also took control of the World Cup for GT Drivers.

With its #96 Vantage GTE having finished third in class – its fourth consecutive podium – Aston Martin Racing leads the Trophy for GTE Am Teams while British duo Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall maintain their lead of the Trophy for GTE Am Drivers.

With just one round of the 2013 championship to run in three weeks’ time (30 November) at the Six Hours of Bahrain, Aston Martin Racing will be aiming to clinch all five titles to cap off a hugely successful year that has so far delivered eight race victories and a perfect haul of seven double pole positions.

The #97 team arrived in Shanghai with the aim of repeating their 2012 race victory. Turner and long-standing team-mate Mücke secured pole position in their V8-powered Vantage GTE and maintained that lead throughout the six-hour race to score 26 valuable points and clinch the championship lead.

“That was a fantastic result, but it wasn’t easy,” comments Turner. “The competition is so tough, especially from our own cars – the #99 gave us a real run for our money. The qualifying session was the hardest of the year, so to take pole and an extra point was great. The car was brilliant for most of the race. I had one difficult stint, but we managed to maintain the lead and take the race win, which is what we needed to do.”

Hot on the #97’s heels was the #99 of Pedro Lamy (PT), Bruno Senna (BR) and Richie Stanaway (NZ), which finished just 0.6 seconds behind after six hours to take second place and collect 18 valuable points towards the World Cup for GT Manufacturers.

Senna, who finished the race for the #99 team, comments: “That was a brilliant race. We took it right up to the wire with the #97 team. It’s great to be up on the podium stood next to Darren, Stefan, Pedro and Richie and we’ve collected points towards the Manufacturers’ championship so everyone at Aston Martin Racing can celebrate tonight.”

In the GTE Am class the #96 Vantage GTE of Campbell-Walter and Hall, joined for a second time by fellow Briton Jonny Adam, finished in third place having started sixth. The result maintains the team’s lead of the Trophy for GTE Am Drivers and Trophy for GTE Am Teams.

“That was a really tough race,” comments Campbell-Walter. “Qualifying didn’t go well, but the team managed to sort the issues before the race. Jonny started and was unlucky to have a slight off after he was forced off the track by another competitor, but he fought back well. Stuart took over and, despite a few unavoidable incidents, managed to get us back up to fifth. Jonny took over and put in some cracking laps before I did the final stint and finished in third. It’s great to get another podium, but we still have work to do in Bahrain to win the GTE Am championships.”

The #95 Vantage GTE of Danes Christoffer Nygaard, Nicki Thiim and Kristian Poulsen was denied its third race win of the season. The team qualified on pole and led the race by a convincing margin for the first 100 laps, even matching the pace of the GTE Pro runners, before it was forced to retire with a yet undiagnosed electrical fault.

John Gaw, Team Principal, comments: “We came to Shanghai knowing from last year that the car was strong here and, although it was very disappointing what happened to the #95 car after an exemplary weekend by all involved with that team, it was good to get the job done with the other cars. We go to the final round of the Championship in Bahrain in three weeks’ time in a stronger position than when we arrived here in Shanghai.

“We have to say a big thank you to Michelin. All the cars this weekend were of a similar performance on their fastest laps, but the nature of this circuit means that tyres play a key role over the length of a six-hour race and the combination of the Aston Martin and Michelin proved a successful one this weekend.

“We know from last year that Shanghai was our second best circuit in this area and Bahrain our strongest so we look forward with relish to the opportunity to complete the job and achieve the key targets we set ourselves at the start of this year.”

(Text/image: Aston Martin Racing)