Wait for first Vantage GTE win “felt like 1000 years”
The wait for Aston Martin to secure the first FIA World Endurance Championship win with its new Vantage GTE felt like “a thousand years”, feels Nicki Thiim.
Aston’s new-for-2018 contender took its first GTE Pro class victory on Sunday in a rainy, disrupted Shanghai race on only its fifth race outing, courtesy of Thiim and fellow Dane Marco Sorensen.
It comes after a largely difficult year for the British marque, which included an uncompetitive showing at the Le Mans 24 Hours and a disappointing Fuji race that was compromised by a bad strategy call.
Aston chose to split its strategies in Shanghai, an approach that ultimately meant Thiim and Sorensen took victory in the #95 car while Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn, hurt by having to take a pitstop under green flag running, ended up fourth behind both Porsches.
“It’s quite emotional I have to say,” said Thiim of the Shanghai win. “I haven’t felt like this since we won the championship in 2016 in Bahrain.
“We made a big step from Silverstone, couldn’t finish it off at Fuji, but now we did it.
“I would say today was [about] pure strategy, we did exactly the right moves under the safety car and so on. We didn’t get the strategy right in Fuji.
“It sounds like a few races, but it felt like a thousand years. To be honest I didn’t expect it would take so long [to win] with the new car.
“We’re still learning, and finishing off [the year] with a win now is the best thing could happen. We’ve got to keep improving especially for Sebring [the next race in March].”
The #95 Aston Martin finished the Shanghai sixth overall – ahead of the best of the LMP2s, the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca shared by Stephane Richelmi, Gabriel Aubry and Ho-Pin Tung.
Sorensen said he knew he had to pass the #38 Oreca in the closing stages because he was being held up.
“It was actually becoming a little bit of a problem, after the safety car the tyre pressures were so low, it was cold, it was raining and you couldn’t bring the tyres up to temperature,” he recalled.
“He [Aubry] was holding me up before the safety car as well, and when the safety car came in, I knew I had to get past in one lap because he was holding me up so much.
“So I knew when I got past this guy was holding up everyone else a bit as well, so it was perfect.”
GTE Pro podium: winners #95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR: Marco Sorensen, Nicki Thiim
Photo by: JEP / LAT Images
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