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Aston Martin Sweeps GTE Qualifying in Shanghai

Aston Martin Racing takes GTE-Pro, GTE-Am pole positions in Shanghai…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Aston Martin Racing continued its impressive mark on the FIA World Endurance Championship Friday, with the British manufacturer taking class poles in both the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories for tomorrow’s Six Hours of Shanghai.

Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke combined to put the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 on the top spot in GTE-Pro, thanks to a four-lap average of 2:04.370.

Their time was only 0.019 seconds quicker than the sister No. 99 Aston Martin, qualified by Bruno Senna and Richie Stanaway, who wound up second.

It marked the third pole of the season for the No. 97 entry of Turner and Mucke, who remain in a tight championship battle heading into tomorrow’s penultimate round of the season.

“It was good,” said Turner, whose two-lap average put the car on pole. “The car felt good and I hooked up two clean laps without making any mistakes and that’s what put us back up towards the time sheets.

“I’m really happy with the extra point [for winning pole]. We know the championship is very close. At the end of the year, that point can be very decisive.”

Turner and Mucke have now closed to 7.5 points of championship leaders Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella, who qualified a dismal sixth.

Qualifying third in class was the No. 91 Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, followed by the quickest of the Ferraris, the No. 71 AF Corse entry of Toni Vilander and Kamui Kobayashi in fourth.

The GTE-Am class pole went to the No. 95 Aston Martin, qualified by Christoffer Nygaard and Nicki Thiim. The duo, who will be joined by Kristian Poulsen on Saturday, recorded a 2:05.903 average.

It was just 0.015 seconds quicker than the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari of Matt Griffin and Marco Cioci, which was second. The AF Corse-run 8Star Ferrari of Rui Aguas and Davide Rigon completed the top-three in class.

The Six Hours of Shanghai takes the green Saturday at 11 a.m. local.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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