The #159 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Andrew Watson, Valentin Hasse-Clot and James Pull took the silver class win at the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup at the Nürburgring in Germany. The sister #188 Vantage of Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Jonny Adam was unable to repeat its Pro-Am win from Round 1 after a difficult race that just didn’t go their way.
The six-hour race at the Nürburgring got underway at a furious pace and almost immediately the frontrunners tripped over one another, scattering the chasing cars as they came through Turn 1. Andrew Watson was behind the wheel of the #159 Vantage, which started from third place in class. The fallout from the trouble ahead of him pushed him down the order so fightback mode was launched by the team, who changed the tyre strategy for #159 to haul it back up the order.
After a strong double stint, Watson handed the car over to Hasse-Clot in second place in class.
Valentin then had a strong run in the middle part of the race and took the silver class lead before handing over to James Pull who was making his Garage 59 race debut. James continued the strong form for the #159 Aston Martin and held off the advances of the #78 Barwell Lamborghini in the closing stages of the race. It was an excruciatingly close battle but James kept his head and brought the Vantage safely to the chequered flag, first place in class and 12th overall.
“I think that was the longest hour of my life,” said Pull. “The Lamborghini behind me was really fast and I was struggling on old tyres so I was just trying to stay on track and not make any mistakes so he couldn’t attack me. After not being in a race car for eight months I am super happy to get back on track with a win like this!”
“All credit to James and Valentin today,” added Andrew Watson. “James really held his nerve at the end there. Thank you Garage 59; the team put so much effort in and really worked hard for this result. Thanks also to everyone at Prodrive and AMR; the car was amazing. It’s good to get our first silver cup win ahead of the big one at Spa in in a few weeks’ time.”
In the #188 Aston Martin Vantage, the race faltered from the start, as Chris Goodwin explains:
“For the Pro Am side of the garage this was a race that looked possible to win but it unravelled right from the start,” he said. “A series of unfortunate safety cars and resultant poor track position on a track where it is very difficult to pass created a race to forget for the 188 car. The result for the silver car really helped to make up for the disappointment. All credit to them!”
Next up for the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup is the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa, which takes place on 24-25 October. Garage 59 has another 24-hour challenge before that though, as the 2020 ADAC TOTAL 24h Race takes place at the Nürburgring in just three weeks’ time.