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Aston Martin Doubles Up in GTE at COTA

Aston Martin Takes FIA WEC GTE-Pro, Am COTA wins…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Aston Martin Racing swept both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am class honors in Saturday’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas.

The No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage was on the board in GTE-Pro, following a controlled, poised drive from Stefan Muecke and Darren Turner.

Turner took the lead by the second hour, right at the moment of the rain deluge that caused the near one-hour long red flag.

The duo ran within the top three from there, battling with the pair of Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSRs.

The No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR led into the fifth hour, but Nick Tandy’s chances for victory evaporated following a pit stop where the car was unable to restart. The car briefly went into the garage and resumed, but lost two laps and any hopes of a podium finish.

For Tandy and co-driver Joerg Bergmeister, it marked the second consecutive heartache in as many races on the day, following a loss of drive that hit their car in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race earlier Saturday afternoon.

Porsche’s second car, the No. 92 then wheeled by Patrick Pilet after taking over from Fred Makowiecki, led Turner before Turner was able to reel him in.

In the final hour, with 32 minutes to go, Turner made the move for the lead. Turner and Pilet swapped the lead once more through the final pit stop cycle, but Turner resumed at the head of the class with the Porsche second by 9.319 seconds.

AF Corse, which won the previous two FIA WEC races in GTE-Pro, finished third with Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander in the No. 51 Ferrari F458 Italia.

Tandy and Bergmeister were a hard-luck fourth. The second AF Corse Ferrari, the No. 71 with Davide Rigon and the returning James Calado, ended fifth ahead of the fellow returning car, the No. 99 Craft-Bamboo AMR Aston Martin Vantage of Alex MacDowell, Fernando Rees and Darryl O’Young.

Corvette Racing’s cameo in the FIA WEC featured sincere disappointment and a bit of bad luck, en route to seventh in class.

Jordan Taylor was caught out on slicks in the No. 65 Corvette C7.R when the rain hit, but was able to make it back to the pit lane and able to change tires.

As the race restarted from the red flag, the positioning of the car relative to the others while in the pit lane eventually wound up costing it two laps. Cars on track were dispatched first, ahead of those in the pits. It proved a gap that the car was unable to recover.

In GTE-Am, Aston Martin seized the opportunity as well for its second straight win in the class, and third this season.

The difference was on this occasion, the No. 98 of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Christoffer Nygaard took the spoils in their Aston Martin Vantage over the Silverstone and Le Mans-winning No. 95 Young Driver AMR entry of Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeier Hansson and Richie Stanaway.

The No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR of Klaus Bachler, Khaled Al Qubaisi and Christian Ried dominated the race almost entirely from start to finish, but fell from the ranks in the final hours as the Aston’s pace persisted.

Aston was able to get ahead on that sequence with the No. 98, with Lamy able to hold off Stanaway in the No. 95 for a 1-2 finish. The gap between the pair was only within a second heading into the final lap, and ended at just 0.999 of a second at the checkered flag.

Proton’s Porsche ended third, with the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia fourth and the No. 90 8Star Motorsports Ferrari F458 Italia fifth.

The pole-sitting ProSpeed Competition No. 75 Porsche 911 RSR lost 24 laps in the fourth hour when it headed behind the wall, and was classified eighth in GTE-Am.

RESULTS: Six Hours of the Circuit of The Americas

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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