THURSDAY 20 JUNE 2013
SIMONSEN GRABS GTE-AM POLE FOR THE 2013 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

Another stunning piece of driving has seen Allan Simonsen win pole position for this years blue riband WEC event, at Circuit de La Sarthe, this evening. The final qualifying session was a fraught affair in drying and darkening conditions, yet despite already on pole, Allan went out in the final moments to shave a full second off his time, which ensured Aston Martin would control both GTE-AM and GTE-PRO classes. This made Mr David Richards rather pleased, indeed.

Le Mans, 21 June 2013 - Aston Martin Racing has qualified on pole for the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans with its #99 Vantage GTE, as well as securing pole position in the GTE Am class with the #95 car to continue the team's 100 per cent pole success rate in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.

The fastest GTE lap time of the three qualifying sessions – 3:54.635 – was set by Frédéric Makowiecki (FR) in the final moments of the third qualifying session, following a close battle with team-mate Stefan Mücke in the #97 machine who took second position. The #99 Vantage GTE, which the Frenchman will compete in for this race with Bruno Senna (BR) and Rob Bell (GB), will start from the front of the grid of 26 GT cars for the legendary 24-hour endurance race.

In the GTE Am class, Allan Simonsen (DN) put the #95 car at the top of the timesheets at the start of qualifying one, a position that the car held right until the end of session three when Simonsen bettered his time to a 3:57.776.

The #96 Vantage GTE Am car driven by Jamie Campbell-Walter clinched third place when the British driver put in a lap of 3:59.805 towards the end of the session.

The #98 Pro car will start from strong position of fifth overall on the grid. Pedro Lamy (PT) set the time in the first qualifying session and thereafter the team focused on maximising driver time in the fragmented sessions.

Aston Martin Racing Team Principal John Gaw comments: "We came here with the aim of qualifying on pole in both classes, so we are pleased to have started off our 24 Hours of Le Mans campaign so positively. The qualifying sessions were a little frustrating because of the rain and red flags meaning little changed position-wise until the final 15 minutes. We did well to firmly secure both pole positions in the dying minutes.

"We all know, however, that in a 24-hour race, starting positions aren't too important. We need to ensure we continue the reliability that we demonstrated at Silverstone and Spa to get all our cars to the end of the race safely and without issues."

Makowiecki comments: "It's a nice feeling because I waited a long time to work with Aston Martin Racing. For me it's a great pleasure to get a good result for the team. It's the first step towards winning the race this weekend."

Simonsen adds: "It was tricky at the start with the changing conditions and it was a typical Le Mans last lap dash. To start the 24 Hours of Le Mans on pole is fantastic. We're all looking forward to the race."

Qualifying positions:

GTE Pro
1st - Bruno Senna (BR), Fred Makowiecki (FR) and Rob Bell (GB) #99
2nd - Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Peter Dumbreck (GB) #97
5th - Pedro Lamy (PT), Paul Dalla Lana (CN) and Bill Auberlen (USA) #98

GTE Am
1st - Allan Simonsen (DN), Kristian Poulsen (DN) and Christoffer Nygaard (DN) #95
3rd - Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Stuart Hall (GB) and Roald Goethe (D) #96

The 90th Edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts on 22 June at 15:00 hrs CET. Follow the team's progress at WWW.ASTONMARTIN.COM/RACING on Facebook WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/ASTONMARTINRACING and on Twitter using @AMR_Official.