ASTON Martin Racing claimed victory against rivals Ferrari in the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Mexico after an intense six-hour battle last weekend.
The number V8 Vantage GTE of Danish drivers Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen finished first in their class by nine seconds.
After starting on the front row alongside the pole-sitting No.71 Ferrari, Sorensen fought hard throughout the first hour to not only maintain a close gap to the race leader, but take the lead towards the end of his first stint.
While their rivals regained the lead following the first round of pit stops, the Danish pair continued to sustain the pressure.
With one hour and 30 minutes left on the clock, a full course yellow for a rogue baseball found on the track gave the team the opportunity to capitalise by taking their fourth pit stop with a minimal time disadvantage, placing Thiim in the car for a final double stint. A second full course yellow allowed the team to fill Thiim’s Vantage GTE to the end with just over an hour remaining.
With Thiim showing great pace in the final hours, the Dane finally crossed the line with a 9.159 secs lead.
Unfortunately, the race turned into a test session for Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner.
In stark contrast to Turner’s victory in Mexico last year, the car the British racer shares with Jonny Adam (GB) and Daniel Serra (Brazil) was beset with braking issues from the start of the race.
“Even on the run into Turn One I didn’t have full confidence in the brakes,” explained Turner. “Then after two or three laps the problem started to get worse. I tried to keep going as long as I could but unfortunately the pedal ended up going to the floor.”
In the GTE Am class, Aston Martin Racing also claimed a second podium for the day, as the No 98 V8 Vantage GTE of Paul Dalla Lana (Canada), Pedro Lamy (Portugal) and Mathias Lauda (Austria) took second.
Paul Howarth, Team Principal Aston Martin Racing, said: “I can’t praise the team and crew enough. We looked strong here last year and we fully expected our rivals to be significantly more competitive.
“That was certainly the case and to be locked in a battle like that for the full six hours really shows the strength of our crew not to crack under pressure. We’ll hope to ride on this success once we head to Austin and fight to keep our championship bid on track.”
Aston Martin Racing returns to the FIA World Endurance Championship on Saturday 16th September for the Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas.