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April 22, 2008

Aston Martins dominate at Silverstone

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Aston Martin triumphed in both GT1 and GT4 categories in front of a 25,000-strong crowd in the first race of the FIA GT Championship at Silverstone over the weekend.

In poor weather with heavy fog and rain, the famous Tourist Trophy was won by Karl Wendlinger and Ryan Sharp in the number 33 Jetalliance Aston Martin DBR9. Allan Simonsen and Philipp Peter finished 3rd in the Gigawave DBR9 after holding off intense competition in a thrilling climax to the race.

The second Jetalliance car driven by Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer and Alex Müller claimed an excellent 6th place after starting from 9th on the GT1 grid.

Karl Wendlinger said: “It has been an incredibly tough race in very difficult conditions. Both the wet tyres and the intermediates were degrading quickly during my stints. And then also my spin – but still it worked out okay. Ryan has performed superbly today and won the race for us. A perfect season opener!”

Ryan Sharp commented: “I desperately wanted to win here at Silverstone of all places. Now the feeling is just incredible. We had a perfect car and perfect teamwork.”

In GT3 where six Aston Martin DBRS9s were in action, Brixia Racing in their debut race achieved the highlight result claiming a 3rd place podium finish in race one.

The new GT4 category for production-standard race cars saw Aston Martins victorious in both races, with Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof in the Jetalliance Vantage N24 taking victory in Saturday’s race. The final race on Sunday saw eight Vantage N24s start on the grid and in a gripping tussle for the lead, Jamie Smyth in the Beechdean N24 triumphed over the 2nd placed Mustang on the final lap. Klaus Engelhorn took 3rd and Jurgen Van Hover finished 4th.

David King, Head of Product Communications and Motorsport, Aston Martin said: “We are very proud of the achievements of all the Aston Martin teams across all four classes of GT racing this weekend.

“Jetalliance has made a perfect start to their FIA GT1 campaign and their support for GT4 really paid off too with a great win for Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof in his debut race in one of four Jetalliance-entered Vantage N24s.

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“The 3rd place in GT1 for the Gigawave team was an amazing achievement in their first GT1 season and in GT3 the competition was incredible, with 50 cars from nine different marques battling it out, making a debut 3rd place finish for the Brixia team all the more special.”

Meanwhile in the American Le Mans Series in Long Beach, Paul Drayson and Johnny Cocker successfully drove the brand new Drayson-Barwell Vantage GT2 to its maiden race finish.

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