Aston Martin Racing claimed the GTE Am pole position for the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain, bringing the crew of the #98 V8 Vantage GTE to the brink of FIA World Endurance Championship title glory.
Pedro Lamy (P) and Paul Dalla Lana (C) claimed a vital point for their achievement to give them both and teammate Mathias Lauda (A) an 11-point lead over their nearest rivals. The trio must finish at least third in Saturday’s season finale to secure the GTE Am drivers’ and teams’ world championships.
While Pedro delivered his usual high level of performance in qualifying, the Portuguese paid tribute to Dalla Lana who’s time was more than a second faster than any other amateur in the session. It was the crew’s seventh pole position of the season.
Lamy said, “I did an okay time but Paul, compared with all the other Bronze drivers, did a brilliant job. He really made the difference. It is great for us and the point is really important considering the championship position we are in”.
Dalla Lana added that while securing the title was now a real possibility, he was trying hard not to think about it. “The plan is to win, but tomorrow is one of those occasions where we need to finish and focus on being where we need to be to secure our ultimate goal. I’m afraid to talk about anything more than that!”
In GTE Pro, the #97 V8 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner and Jonny Adam will start the V8 Vantage GTE’s last race in the category from the front row after placing second during the session. With Turner out first, the car quickly shot to the top of the times with a 1m56.021s before dropping behind the pole car. When Jonny Adam took over from the Englishman, he encountered traffic on his fastest lap, but even still the duo’s best combined average came to 1m56.372s, +0.339s away from the top slot.
Turner said, “It’s wonderful that we are on the front row for the last race of the Vantage. It would have been nice to get pole position like we had here 12 months ago. It was very close and I think everyone except the pole car probably had a few points around the track where they lost a tenth and with the competition as strong as it is you need perfect laps by everyone. We tried a different strategy with Jonny and myself, which didn’t help Jonny, so we’ve learnt something for the race tomorrow. I think we are in good shape and you can see by the times it’s going to be a close battle.”
The #95 V8 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim (D) and Marco Sørensen (D) will start tomorrow’s race from 5th, after an uncharacteristically low key session.
Thiim said: “The car feels good it’s just that on the watch we are just not quick enough. It’s not going to be a walk in the park like we thought it would, but we are still in it.”
Paul Howarth, Team Principal Aston Martin Racing said, “This is the seventh pole of the year in GTE Am, so it was a strong performance by #98. Every point is important so to take one for pole means tomorrow we need to finish in the top three. But there is still some way to go. Darren and Jonny drove a really strong lap, nearly there but not quite enough. Going for pole is critical for the team, and it would have great for the last race of V8 Vantage GTE in the championship, but it shows its competitiveness to the end.”
The Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain will begin at 16h00 local time on Saturday 18 November.
Source. Aston Martin
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