Fresh from podium success at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, Darren Turner and his Aston Martin Racing team-mates Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen had their sights set on another top finish at Saturday’s WEC 6 Hours of Spa. Ultimately their high expectations were dashed when the #95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE was taken out by an LMP2 competitor.
During Thursday’s two free practice sessions all three drivers felt confident that, although the pace of the Ferraris was out of everyone’s reach, they would be able to go wheel-to-wheel with the Ford GTs and the sister GTE Pro Aston Martin to fight for the last place on the podium.
Thiim and Sørensen were in the hot seat for qualifying and they took sixth place on the grid. Sørensen was at the wheel for the start and soon moved up the field.
“Marco had a good opening stint and made up a place even though we started on what would become evident was not the best tyre option,” explained Turner. “After a single stint, Nicki jumped in on the preferred tyre. He was having a great run when an LMP2 driver made a move at a place where you would never expect to be dive bombed.”
The contact tipped Thiim into a spin, right into the end of a barrier which then launched the Aston Martin into a barrel roll and it was game over for the #95 crew.
“It was an unnecessary move that has created a lot of damage and cost us points, which is not ideal at this early stage of the season,” said Turner. “The guys will get the car back today and assess the damage but it’s not great with Le Mans only a few weeks away. It’s a shame as one of the Ferraris ran into problems so I think we could have been right in there battling with the Ford that finished in second place but it wasn’t to be.”
“On the positive side, the #97 Aston Martin picked up a GTE Pro podium finish and the #98 car won the GTE Am race,” he continued. “Now it’s a case of all hands on deck to get ready for Le Mans.”