Aston Martin Racing claimed a sensational victory in the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Okayama, Japan.
The 007 Aston Martin LMP1 ran faultlessly throughout the three-hour race. Excellent performances from drivers Stefan Mücke (DE) and Harold Primat (CH) coupled with perfect pit work from the Aston Martin Racing crew saw the race go exactly to plan for the British team.
In a repeat performance of race one, Mücke started in fourth place in dry sunny conditions, taking third just across the line. He set about hunting down the front runners with an impressive display of skill and speed, taking second and then first to lead the race by lap 15. The German driver built up an impressive 20 second lead before pitting to hand the Aston Martin LMP1 over to Primat on lap 39, just before the one hour mark.
Primat joined the race in fifth place but as the Aston Martin was one of the first of the LMP1 cars to stop for fuel and tyres he regained the lead soon after when the rest of the field carried out their pit stops. With the temperature dropping Primat built the lead to almost 40 seconds before pitting on lap 83 to return the car to Mücke with just over an hour of the race remaining.
Mücke retained the lead for the last tense hour, stopping briefly for a splash of fuel eight minutes before the end of the race. Thankfully the earlier threat of rain didn’t materialise until shortly after the race had finished and Mücke took the chequered flag for Aston Martin Racing.
Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell said: “I was surprised to see the car had improved so much from yesterday. Full credit to race engineer Dave Wilcock and the rest of the team for flawless work this weekend and I’d like to thank our sponsors and tyre partner Michelin. It has been a pleasure coming to Japan; the whole team has been made to feel very welcome. It’s a great way to finish the season.”
DRIVER QUOTES 007
Stefan Mücke (D): “The car was brilliant to drive and the Michelin tyres were perfect. The team made some minor changes to the set-up last night and it was as if someone flicked a switch and everything just came together. During my first stint the car got better and better each lap and the tyres gave me the confidence to overtake and get out in the lead. Harold did a great job in the middle of the race and then I took over for the final stage. The car was a pleasure today and I am very happy with the win.”
Harold Primat (CH): “I’m so happy! This is my first win in sports cars and I am very pleased that it was with Aston Martin Racing. Stefan gave me the car in P1 and I had a consistent stint with no problems at all. I don’t think anyone was expecting us to be the fastest car on the track today, we surprised everyone including ourselves. The track conditions definitely helped and the car and the team worked really well today.”
In the GT1 class, Hitotsuyama Team Nova started from the back of the grid in their Aston Martin DBR9 and went on to win the class, finishing an impressive eighth overall.
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