Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTEs will start second and third in the GTE Pro class for the 4 Hours of Shanghai, after narrowly missing out on pole position by just 0.018s in the closest qualifying session of the WEC season.
While both cars played starring roles in the fight for the top spot, it was the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, driven by Danish duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen, that emerged fastest of the British GT cars which were separated by an average of just 0.010s.
Shanghai is always tough on tyres and therefore good management of the three and a half sets of Michelins available for qualifying and the race in GTE Pro is critical. Both crews chose to use just one set each in contrast to some of their rivals. In the end, the ‘Dane Train’, was a mere 0.018s away from taking a second successive pole following the one they recorded in Fuji. Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL), will start third in class, but with the smallest margin separating the two crews since they all began racing together in May 2018.
“This is probably one of the toughest tracks to the get qualifying right, when it’s low fuel, new tyres and no second chances…” said Thiim. “As always GTE Pro is intensely tight and I think the top four were covered by two tenths, so we are looking forward to a 4-Hour sprint race tomorrow!”
Sørensen added: I know we wanted to be on pole, but I think the others used two sets of tyres and we didn’t. We still managed a strong pace, and we have a good race car which is the most important thing.”
The #98 GTE Am Aston Martin Racing entry has an enviable record in qualifying for China, having been on pole position at every Shanghai race since 2014. And while the crew of Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Ross Gunn (GB) and Darren Turner (GB) couldn’t quite secure a sixth consecutive top spot with their new Vantage GTE, they did record their best qualifying result of the season with second in class. The TF Sport version, driven by Salih Yoluc (TUR) and works drivers Jonny Adam (GB) and Charlie Eastwood (IRL), lines up fifth.
Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw added, “We always want to be on pole position, and today we were very, very close. But it is more important that we put ourselves in the best situation to start the race, and by managing our tyres well we have done this. Shanghai is a tough track on cars and tyres and you can see by the times that it will be close through the field in both classes. We’re in good shape to capitalise, but we must remain vigilant because 4 hours may be a sprint in endurance terms, it’s a still a long race.”
The third round of the FIA WEC at Shanghai, in China, starts at noon local time on 10 November.
Source. Aston Martin