Darren Turner continued his stellar run in Japan with D’station Racing as he recorded another podium in the second round of the Super Taikyu series at Sugo.
Following a victorious debut in the category at Suzuka last month, the Aston Martin Racing works driver was re-united in the new Vantage GT3 customer race car with D’station team owner Satoshi Hoshino and Japanese driver Tsubaba Konda for the three-hour event.
Having never seen Sugo before, Turner, along with his team-mates, secured an accomplished podium to ensure D’station Racing ended the weekend with its championship lead well intact.
“This was a great result and we’re all very happy with our performance this weekend,” said Turner. “We came to Sugo knowing we were carrying an additional 30kg of success ballast and that we would also be managing a change in the Balance of Performance. So to come away with third place feels like we’ve achieved the maximum from the weekend.”
Having made his Suzuka debut a month ago, Turner once again found himself learning a new circuit and loved every minute of it.
“Sugo is ‘Old School’,” he said. “It has lots of elevation changes and corners that make you think and really challenge you. To put a good lap together around here requires all your skills and I loved it. And because it is fairly narrow, from an endurance point of view good traffic management is also key.”
D’station Racing qualified fourth for the race taking Turner’s and Hoshino’s combined times, and as Turner explained: “Hoshino-San did a good job managing wet tyres on a drying track, whereas I got to run on slicks”. Which set them up for a crack at the podium.
In the race, Turner and his co-drivers ran their game-plan like clockwork, with Kondo starting the race though dropping to fifth because of the weight deficit. But when rivals pitted early with the onset of the first full-course yellow, the Aston Martin moved up the order and briefly took the lead. A sold middle stint from Hoshino meant that Turner climbed into the car in third position. His job was simply to go as hard as he could to ward off any potential attacks from behind.
“We knew going in that if all ran smoothly then getting a podium was probably the maximum we could do,” said Turner. “We ran a perfect race in terms of driver performance and team strategic performance. We completely maxed out what our potential should be and we are all very happy within the team.
“Each of us, me, Hoshino-san and Kondo-san can be happy with our stints. Everyone was flat out at the end of the race. No one was really closing or gaining on each other and all I knew was that I had to keep punching in fast lap times as best I could. I’m very happy with the result.”
Turner will return to Japan with D’station Racing AMR for the long-distance Super GT race at Fuji on 4 August.