Vantage GTE takes second pole position of FIA WEC season in finale
#95 Vantage makes perfect start to 60th anniversary celebration of DBR1 win
Aston Martin Racing has claimed GTE Pro pole position for this weekend’s 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, giving the team an early reason to celebrate as the iconic British brand marks 60 years since its famous 1959 win with the DBR1.
On a dry track and with Danish pro Marco Sørensen at the wheel, the #95 Vantage GTE claimed a best time of 3m48.00, edging out the competition by a mere 0.112s, emphasising just how tough this weekend’s competition will be.
Talking of the lap, Sorensen said, “We had a small issue in Qualifying Practice 2 and the guys did an amazing job to get us ready for tonight’s session. We knew that the moment to go for it would be in those few minutes before the sun goes down. It’s both an amazing feeling when you know “this is it”, but also something quite scary if you think about it too much. I was lucky to get some good tows down each of the main straights and I was 100% at the maximum. This is somewhere you shouldn’t push yourself over the limit and you just need to rely on your instincts to do the job. Tonight, it really just felt right. We thought we were there or thereabouts to take pole this evening after yesterday’s sessions, but to actually claim it is a mega boost for the team.”
Joining him for this weekend’s race in the ‘Danetrain’ will be team-mates Nicki Thiim (DN) and previous three-time Le Mans winner Darren Turner (GB).
Turner said, “What a great way to start this year’s Le Mans. I have to say that was an incredible lap by Marco and everyone on the #95 crew has prepped the car immensely well. We had a small problem at the end of Q2 which cost us some time, but everyone put in the extra mile to make sure that we had the opportunity to have one last try in Q3. The Vantage GTE performed flawlessly when the time mattered and 12 months on from the debut of this car, this is the perfect way to start this year’s race”.
Team-mate Thiim added, “What a week it’s been so far. Coming from last year where we topped the table from the bottom to this year. It just shows the massive development that we have done. Not only over the last three races where we took two of three wins into this race but throughout the whole year. This pole is just a small thing but it means a lot. This is the biggest race on the planet but being at the front makes us all very proud and that everyone can keep their heads high. The racing is closer than ever and it’s going to be an intense 24 hours of GTE racing”.
The second Aston Martin Racing GTE Pro #97 entry of Maxime Martin (BE), Alex Lynn (GB) and Jonny Adam (GB) will begin tomorrow’s race from 14th. While the #95 has proven that the pace is there, the crew found difficulty in stringing together a clean lap, with slow zones and yellow flags wreaking havoc throughout the session whenever the pole attempt was made.
In GTE Am, the reigning world champions driving #98 V8 Vantage GTE, Paul Dalla Lana (CN), Pedro Lamy (P) and Mathias Lauda (A), will begin Saturday’s French classic from 10th on the grid.