[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ston Martin Racing has secured a third consecutive GTE Am victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as the team’s #98 V8 Vantage GTE stormed to the chequered flag at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
After securing pole position in yesterday’s qualifying session, the trio of Paul Dalla Lana (C), Pedro Lamy (P) and Mathias Lauda (A) performed yet another faultless display to take their fifth victory of the season.
Following a first corner incident, Lamy found himself pushed back to second after avoiding the melee. Despite the setback, the Portuguesa re-claimed his position, allowing him to focus on creating a convincing lead. From that point onwards, the crew never looked back as they stormed to victory with a final advantage of over one lap.
Lamy said, “The first corner was very difficult. I was focused on getting into the best position for turn one and an LMP2 turned into my path. I didn’t know where to go, so I just tried to turn inside and I avoided him with a little luck.
After the craziness of the first lap, my first stint was good and I felt that I had a strong pace. The Porsche that overtook me at turn one received a drive through, so I was able to take the lead back quickly and build a nice gap to hand over to Paul.”
Lauda added, “Today we had a really perfect day. From beginning to the end we had the better overall pace compared to our competitors and we’re enjoying a really deserved win tonight. It feels great to win five races in one year and even though we’re second in the championship, we don’t give up.”
Dalla Lana, “That’s another fantastic result for us out here in Shanghai. They were tough conditions as the track and tyre degradation made it challenging to find the right rhythm, but I think we set the car up well to suit the longer runs. We wanted to take the fight to Bahrain and while there’s a big gap to the championship leaders, we still live to fight another day.”
The #95 V8 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim (DN) and Marco Sørensen (DN) continued to score vital points towards their championship campaign. With Sørensen also narrowly avoiding the first corner incident, the pair fought hard to claim fourth place. The result ensures that the pair extend their lead in the GTE Drivers championship and maintain their GTE Pro title lead, with all 2016 GT competitions to be decided at the final round in Bahrain.
Thiim said, “That really went as planned. We mainly wanted to beat the #71 Ferrari and that’s what we did. It’s perfect for us in the GT Drivers Championship going into the final round. It’s been an intense weekend and you definitely feel like the end is getting closer. This championship is just something special right now, but I am glad that it’s only two weeks to go until the next race as I just want to get back to it and fight hard for the title.”
Despite both the #95 and #98 entries making it through the start of the race safely, the incident at turn one proved to be costly for the #97 entry of Darren Turner (GB) and Richie Stanaway (NZ). After striking a spinning LMP2 in an unavoidable incident, the damage proved too extensive to return the car to the track in time to complete the required 70% race distance.
Paul Howarth, Team Principal Aston Martin Racing said following today’s result, “That was an absolutely outstanding result for the 98 car and for all the drivers. Now we’ve completed a hat trick of pole positions and wins, which to do so in the top level of GT racing is a superb achievement. We were very unfortunate at the start of the race for Richie to be caught in an incident but unfortunately that’s motorsport. We remain in contention for all of the GT titles going into Bahrain and the whole team is now looking forward to delivering the results we’ve working towards all year.”
Aston Martin Racing returns for the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which takes place in Bahrain on Saturday 19 November.