Aston Martin Racing claimed a second successive American Le Mans Series
(ALMS) GT1 victory in the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park, Salt
Lake on Saturday 15 July.
The team’s brace of DBR9s crossed the finish line first and second after the
cars ran without any major issues in ambient temperatures of 103 degrees
Fahrenheit and track temperatures of 128 degrees.
The 007 DBR9 took the chequered flag. British driver Darren Turner drove
consistently for the duration of his stint building up a convincing lead
before handing over to Tomas Enge on lap 29. The lead was such that the
007-car crew managed to get the DBR9 back out in the lead after the first
pit stop. Enge remained in the car until the end of the race, coming in to
the pits briefly when the safety car was out for fresh tyres and fuel. The
team discovered an alternator problem at the final pit stop and quickly
rectified the problem.
In the 009 DBR9, Stephane Sarrazin struggled during the first hour of the
race, loosing second place on lap 17 to the No 4 Corvette before pitting on
lap 20, Andrea Piccini taking to the wheel.
Piccini drove an excellent stint and, on fresh Pirelli tyres, pressured the
No 4 Corvette into a mistake, regaining second place.
Sarrazin took over for the final 45 minutes and recorded the fastest lap in
the race with a time of 2:36.650.
George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing: “Fantastic
result. A special mention should go to Richard Luxton who managed to change
the alternator belt on the 007 race-winning car in record time during a
safety car period near the end of the race. Again, a superb effort from the
whole team. The drivers were very consistent which is what we needed to get
the life out of the tyres and a big thank you to Pirelli, they gave us an
excellent compound for this new circuit. Great job all round.”
CAR 007: 1st GT1 (7th overall) Best lap 2:37.447s Tomas Enge (Czech
Republic): “Tremendous job at the start by Darren, he did a great job and
gave us a huge advantage. We had a brilliant car today and a brilliant set
up. Brilliant tyres as well this weekend, they were working right from the
beginning to the end. We were lucky as well at the end with the alternator
belt, the guys again did a very change and we didn’t loose too much time and
still managed to rejoin in the lead. I’m very happy for Aston Martin Racing
and Pirelli – oh and of course for Darren and me! I hope that we can
continue this winning streak at Portland next weekend.”
Darren Turner (UK): “After Lime Rock where we were strong but the strategy
didn’t really work for us I was disappointed that we lost the opportunity to
win. Here we had a great strategy from the word go and we got a big lead at
the start, I pushed like crazy all the way through the stint and the Pirelli
tyres were completely consistent. The only real drama was with the
alternator at the end but Luxton did an amazing job. To turn the car around
that quickly and get us back out without loosing a lap was fantastic.”
CAR 009: 2nd GT1 (8th overall) Best lap 2:36.650s Andrea Piccini (Italy):
“We suffered a puncture in qualifying which meant that we had to change the
rear tyre instead of one of the front tyres as we had planned as you are
only allowed to change one tyre after qualifying. This meant that the car
was unbalanced in the first stint for Stephane but we knew that this would
be the case.
“But when I got in the car and we put our preferred compound of tyres on the
car it was really nice to drive and the tyres were good for the whole stint
which meant that I was able to put in consistent lap times. I really enjoyed
my first race in the US and I am pleased that we finished on the podium.”
Stephane Sarrazin (France): “We pitted early on my first stint because I
thought I was in trouble but my second stint was a pleasure. The car was so
well balanced. I am a little bit disappointed that we didn’t win the race as
we had the pace towards the end but I enjoyed driving with Andrea and I am
looking forward to Portland.”
>From Salt Lake the team will head west to Portland International Raceway,
Oregon for round six of the American Le Mans Series on Saturday 22 July.