The Aston Martin Vantage GTE entered by TF Sport took a hard-earned second place in the first round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) GTE AM class on Saturday.
Ben Keating (USA), Dylan Pereira (LUX) and Felipe Fraga (BRA) earned 18-pts for the runners-up position to add to the first pole position point of the season which Keating netted on Friday.
The trio completed an impressive strategically astute race which witnessed Keating lead for the first 30-minutes in a fine double stint. But an incident in which an LMP2 car forced the experienced American off the track at the quick Pouhon corner lost valuable time and momentum in the opening hour.
Keating’s fightback then laid the foundations for teammates Pereira and Fraga to eye a challenge for victory in the later stages of the race.
Two Full Course Yellow periods punctuated the fourth and fifth hours of the event but didn’t quite open up an opportunity for maximum points.
The 19-points total accrued in Belgium was a strong start to the campaign for TF Sport which claimed four class victories in the 2019-20 WEC.
“We had a very positive weekend and I have to thank the team for some seriously superb work because we had an excellent car this weekend,” said Ben Keating after the race.
“I think we have proved that we will be a very tough proposition this season and to start with a pole and a strong result like this gives us some nice momentum before we head to Portugal.”
The NorthWest AMR entry took home a good points scoring haul after finishing the six-hour race in sixth position. Paul Dalla Lana (CDN) – 2017 WEC champion – raced for the first time with two-time Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona winner and Intercontinental champion Augusto Farfus (BRA), and 2020 Asian Le Mans Series champion Marcos Gomes (BRA) in Belgium.
Ensuring all three Aston Martin Vantage GTE entries collected points at Spa was the D’station Racing car which gave a fine account of itself on its first full foray in the WEC to claim seventh place.
The team, which leads the Super Taikyu Championship in Japan with its Vantage GT3, had a stellar opening to the race as Tomonobu Fujii (JPN), who also serves as team manager, ran in third position for a time early in the race.
Satoshi Hoshino (JPN) and Andrew Watson (GBR) completed the race to ensure a solid start for the Japanese squad.
David King, President of Aston Martin Racing, said: “It’s a fantastic start to the World Endurance Championship season for the Aston Matin Vantage with all three customer teams in the points. It’s wonderful to see TF Sport take a hard fought second place in the opening round and both NorthWest AMR and D’Station scoring valuable points in a very competitive field.”
The second round of the 2021 WEC is the 8 Hours of Portimão which will take place at Circuit Algarve in Portugal over the weekend of 12-13 June.
Source. Aston Martin