Oct 6, 2019, 09:24 AM

  • Thiim and Sørensen just miss out on pole in 6 Hours of Fuji qualifying
  • Aston Martin Racing shows class-leading pace ahead of FIA WEC Round 2
  • TF Sport Vantage GTE on Am class pole for the second race running
Saturday 5 October, 2019, Fuji Speedway, Japan. Aston Martin Racing's Nicki Thiim set the fastest FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro time overall during qualifying for the 6 Hours of Fuji with the Vantage GTE. Meanwhile in the Am class, TF Sport's version of the car will start from pole position for the second race in succession after a rival was penalised.
Thiim and Danish team-mate Marco Sørensen narrowly missed out on adding their own GTE Pro class pole with the #95 car. The duo, who last year secured the car's maiden pole in the shadow of Mount Fuji, looked set to give the Aston Martin Racing team its first P1 of the 2019/2020 season until Sørensen was held-up in the final sector of his qualifying lap. Even so, his time combined with that of Thiim's meant that the #95 Vantage GTE recorded the third best average overall. Team-mates Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GB) qualified fifth in the sister #97 machine.
"I'm convinced we were fast enough for pole today," said Sørensen. "It was just bad luck, it happens, but we've had the pace throughout practice and I think we will be able to fight tomorrow." Thiim added: "It feels good to be fastest again, it's been a while. To be honest I feel really good in the car which is working really well. Now it is time for the fun part of the job. I always love racing in this series, which in my opinion is the pinnacle of GT competition, and we have the car to fight in the race. It's unfinished business after last year."
Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw added, “It's disappointing not to be on pole in GTE Pro, but equally it's encouraging that we go in to tomorrow's race knowing we have the pace to fight for the win. It looks like the weather may provide some challenges, so it will about making the right strategy calls as ever. Nicki did a good job and Marco was unlucky to get held up by traffic. I would also like to congratulate TF Sport for another pole position, that is a team on a roll at the moment and they thoroughly deserve their success.”
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE is proving to be fiercely competitive in GTE Am. Having qualified second initially, the TF Sport car driven by Salih Yoluc (TUR), Charlie Eastwood (GB) and Aston Martin Racing factory driver Jonny Adam (GB), was promoted to pole when a rival was sent to the back of the grid for a technical infringement. It caps an amazing six weeks for the team following on from their Pro-Am Championship success in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup and multiple titles in the British GT Series, all earned racing Aston Martin Racing Vantages.
The works #98 car driven by 2017 Am champion Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), three-times Le Mans winner Darren Turner and Junior works driver Ross Gunn were also promoted to third. Having fought for pole throughout the session Gunn set the benchmark time in the class and was then ably supported by Dalla Lana to achieve an average good enough for P3 on the amended grid.
The 6 Hours of Fuji begins at 11:00 local time on Sunday, 6 October.
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