6H Fuji: Aston Martin take the double
Aston Martin celebrated victory in both the LMGTE Pro and Am categories at the 6 Hours of Fuji today,
The factory Aston Martin Racing team took a commanding 1st and 3rd in the manufacturers’ category, and TF Sport won in LMGTE Am with the Aston Martin Vantage.
The GTE headlines from the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship Season 8 are below:
The Dane Train of Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim took the No.95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR to the British marque’s first victory in Fuji since 2013, with a faultless display of driving in mixed conditions. It was the No.95’s first win since Shanghai last year.
The duo took the lead just before the second hour, just as weather and track conditions were beginning to get tricky due to showers. They won a lap ahead of the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre.
Third in the LMGTE Pro class, and on a different strategy to its sister car, was the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin. They took the chequered flag 24.6 seconds behind the Porsche.
Following a strong start, and a great battle in the opening hours between all three manufacturers, the race settled into a rhythm – despite increasing rain in the third hour.
Ferrari’s strategy was compromised by the first of two Full Course Yellows which fell in the fourth hour and they were unable to regain the ground lost to their rivals. Despite setting fastest LMGTE Pro lap of the race, James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE had to be satisfied with 4th in class, one lap ahead of their team-mates in the No.71 (Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina).
It was not a race to be celebrated for the class Pole winners, the No.91 Porsche GT Team entry, with a drive through penalty in the first hour adding to their woes.
43,300 fans enjoyed the 3 days of activity at the 6 Hours of Fuji and, despite some light showers, the conditions were far more favourable than the last two years!
TF Sport dominated the LMGTE Am category at Fuji after the new Aston Martin Vantage started race from pole. After finishing 4th in the WEC 4 times, it was the first victory for the British privateer entry in the hands of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam.
It was a first win in the WEC for a Turkish driver (Yoluc), and a first series GTE Am win for the second-generation Vantage AMR.
The trio finished a lap ahead of the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen, the young Dane claiming a new class lap record on the way.
Team Project 1’s No. 57 Porsche 911 RSR started from the back of the grid but strong drives from Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Jeroen Bleekemolen ensured they secured the final podium spot making it three different manufacturers in the top three.
In a race remarkably free of incidents, the only Safety Car period came after just two minutes when the No.88 Dempsey Proton Porsche tangled with two other cars including the No.98 Aston Martin Racing entry which unfortunately lost 22 laps as a result.