TUESDAY 7 MAY 2013
SIMONSEN CONTINUES GTE-AM WEC LEAD AFTER SPA WITH ASTON

Another 2013 World Endurance Championship race at the picturesque Spa circuit, nestled in the Belgium Ardennes has seen Allan Simonsen lead his all-Danish GTE-AM Aston Martin team from a pole position in qualifying to finish on the second step on the podium.

The result only cements their credientials as they head forward to France for the official test day, early June and then onto the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.

QUALIFYING, FRIDAY MAY 3 2013 – Aston Martin Racing has qualified on pole in both of the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE classes at the second round of the series, the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, for the second consecutive race.

Under new regulations, each car must complete at least four laps with two drivers, with the qualifying lap calculated from the average of the best four laps.

In the 30-minute session, which took place on a dry track, Bruno Senna (BR) and French GT ace Fred Makowiecki put in four consistently fast laps to take pole position in the GTE Pro class with an average time of 2:19.811. Rob Bell (GB) will start the #98 2013 Vantage GTE in tomorrow's six-hour race.

Bruno Senna comments: "We're really happy with qualifying. We put in a very strong performance, which was helped by lots of running in practice to understand the car. It's great to be in front in Spa. I love this circuit and I normally do well here so I'm really enjoying it."

Fred Makowiecki: "Yes, it was a great qualifying session. It's really close between all the teams here with 0.042s separating first and second, so we will have a really nice race where we'll have to push to the max. We have good set up and the car feels really comfortable for the race; it should be good for us."

In the GTE Am class, Allan Simonsen (DN) and Christoffer Nygaard (DN) topped the time sheets once again in their 2012-specification Vantage GTE, by an even smaller 0.030s margin with an average lap time of 2:21.265. Team-mate Kristian Poulsen will complete the all-Danish trio for the race.

Christoffer Nygaard: "The car feels great here; it definitely suits both Spa and Silverstone, where we able to win last month. But, it's a long race. We have three good drivers but we all need to do a good job on the day."

Allan Simonsen: "It was a fantastic session and everything went to plan. We were lucky to get some clear laps and put the car on the front row for the race. The aim is to get a good start, like at Silverstone."

Completing the five-car line up, the #97 GTE Pro car, which won the Six Hours of Silverstone last month, will start from fourth on grid with the #99 close behind in fifth and the #96 GTE Am car in third in class.

John Gaw, Team Principal at Aston Martin Racing concludes: "So far so good at Spa this weekend. Running five cars is a big task but everyone has stepped up to the task and we're working well as a team.

"The lap times are much tighter here than at Silverstone as our competitors seem to have closed the gap significantly, but we will push incredibly hard in the race for more great results from all the cars. We aim to take as many points as we can before we head to Le Mans for the 24-hour race in June."

RACE DAY, SATURDAY 4 MAY 2013 - Aston Martin Racing has finished second in both GTE classes at round two of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

The Gulf-liveried #98 Vantage GTE Pro car, driven by Bruno Senna (BR), Fred Makowiecki (FR) and Rob Bell (GB), took second place in the six-hour race following a competitive performance by all three drivers. Their prospects of challenging for the race win were dashed when an untimely safety car interruption caused them to fall behind their competitors in the early stages of the race.

Danish GTE Am trio Allan Simonsen, Kristian Poulsen and Christoffer Nygaard also finished second in class having pushed their 2012-specification #95 Vantage GTE to its limits for the duration of the six hours. The result completed a double podium success for Aston Martin Racing and backs up the #95 car's convincing race win at the season opener at Silverstone.

The #97 Vantage GTE Pro car of Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Peter Dumbreck (GB) was unable to repeat its Silverstone victory as its also fell foul of the early safety car period. Having shown competitive pace through the weekend, it narrowly missed out on the podium to finish fourth in class as the chequered flag fell. Pedro Lamy (PT), Paul Dalla Lana (CN) and Aston Martin Racing newcomer Richie Stanaway (NZ) finished in seventh in the identical #99 car.

In the GTE Am class, the #96 car piloted by Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Stuart Hall (GB) and Roald Goethe (D) finished fourth in a highly competitive pack of nine cars.

Bruno Senna comments: "It's a great result and we're pleased to get so many points in the bag, but we also had a lot of bad luck today. The safety car came out after the Ferrari had pitted and before we had, so it played to their advantage. Still, we adapted our strategy and double stinted our tyres. It worked well and we made up time but we just didn't have a enough left in the tyres for Fred to catch the lead Ferrari."

Rob Bell comments: "It's fantastic to get a podium on my first race with Aston Martin. However, we always race to win so we're not completely happy. What we have proven is that we have the pace to be competitive at Le Mans and that Bruno, Fred and I work well as a team; we've really gelled."

Allan Simonsen adds: "We had bad luck today and it cost us the win, but getting second place points to add to our win at Silverstone has given us a solid start to the season. We are leading the GTE Am class and that's a strong position to be in so early on in the season. We are looking forward to challenging for the win at Le Mans."

John Gaw, Team Principal at Aston Martin Racing comments: "Like at Silverstone, we came here with the objective of scoring maximum points and preparing thoroughly for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unfortunately, the timing of an early safety car effectively ended our hopes of repeating the Silverstone double victory, but surprisingly we were able, with the reliability and pace of the cars, to almost close back the full half lap we lost.

"As expected, our competitors have made significant steps forward since Silverstone so we look forward to getting back to the workshop and working on the cars ahead of Le Mans. We are particularly encouraged to once again to finish the weekend without a single issue with any of the cars. The drivers - having had an error-free weekend - are, like the cars, well prepared for the 24-hour race.

"Thanks to all the team and partners who have enabled us to head into the most demanding race of the year leading the championship."

The FIA World Endurance Championship resumes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 22/23 June.

The five Aston Martin Vantage GTEs – which all share their bonded aluminium structures and basic engine and suspension architecture with Aston Martin's sportiest road-going model, the V8 Vantage – will next be on track at the Le Mans test day on 9 June.

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