Baku, 2 November 2014 - Aston Martin Racing has finished in second place in its debut at the Baku World Challenge, one of the most challenging and competitive GT3 street races in the world, which is also the final round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series.
In the #107 Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage GT3, Aston Martin Racing works driver Jonny Adam (GB) and experienced Blancpain GT Series racer Andy Soucek (ES) started Saturday’s qualifying on the streets of the Azerbaijani city strongly. When the Q1 and Q2 times were combined, the pair were the fastest overall, putting them straight through to Q3 where Soucek qualified in fifth place.
It was the 29-year old Spaniard who started the qualifying race on Saturday and, having driven in the Baku World Challenge in 2013, took no time in working his way up into fourth place. After the pit stop, Adam emerged in third and, taking advantage of another car’s mistake, crossed the line in second place.
With the starting order for the main race decided, it was Adam’s turn to start, this time from the front row. Keeping on the heels of the leader, the team planned to pit late, take advantage of the clean air and emerge in a position of attack.
However, when the V12 Vantage GT3 exited the pits it was seven seconds behind the leader and Soucek began his impressive charge to close the gap.
“I thought I could catch him at first but it turned out his pace was as fast as ours,” Adam commented. “There was oil on the track and he was very cautious… I was less so, so closed the gap to less than three seconds. However, we ran out of time and crossed the line in second place. It’s been a fantastic weekend. To have the fastest combined qualifying time in Q1 and Q2 is great and to take two podiums even better.”
Not only was this the first Baku World Challenge race for the team, it was also only its second Blancpain Sprint Series event and, given the strength of the highly competitive grid, the second place finish exceeded expectations.
“It think we always knew we’d be a strong pairing,” commented Adam. “And, we knew the car would be quick and reliable, but I don’t’ think anyone thought it would go quite this well because the competition is famously tough. We’ve been consistently strong across the two events, just getting better and better in each session. It’s great for Aston Martin Racing and Beechdean AMR to turn up and, in our first Baku World Challenge and second Blancpain Sprint Series race, finish in second place.”
The Aston Martin Racing works entry was in conjunction with partner team Beechdean AMR, which has been extremely successful in recent years winning the British GT Championship in 2013 and establishing an impressive reputation along the way.
“It just shows the strength of Beechdean AMR that we can join the Blancpain Sprint Series and perform so well from the offset,” commented Beechdean AMR Team Owner Andrew Howard. “It was a great job by Jonny, Andy and the team all weekend. I couldn’t be happier.”
The entry into the final two rounds of the Blancpain Sprint Series comes as part of Aston Martin Racing’s move into more works-supported GT3 racing.
“We’ve been very vocal about how keen we are to do more GT3 racing as a works team and these last two rounds of the Blancpain Sprint Series have shown why,” commented Aston Martin Racing Team Principal John Gaw. “Our V12 Vantage GT3 is very competitive and, as well as success in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, it has been victorious in the Blancpain GT Series, where we won our debut race in 2013 at Silverstone. Our focus for next year is to do more GT3 racing as a works team, as well as alongside and in support of our top customer teams, such as Beechdean AMR, that has been outstanding this weekend.”