Despite spending much of Sunday’s British GT race at Rockingham defending hard and trying to hit an apex (!), Darren Turner was delighted to be rewarded with a podium finish. Along with Andrew Howard, Turner piloted the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin to fourth place at the chequered flag but just a few hours later was awarded the podium position when the TF Sport car received a 30-second post-race penalty.
“We didn’t have great pace in the wet for qualifying so the race was all about damage limitation for us,” said Turner. “We started eighth and Andrew did a great job, working his way up the rankings while others were having issues. He kept his head, gained a few places, lost a couple of places, but when the pit stops all shook out he pitted from fifth.”
With other teams serving extra time in the pits as a result of success penalties, Turner joined the race in third position but soon found himself struggling for grip and on the defensive.
“I had a real issue with the front end of the car and after my first run behind the safety car I just couldn't get back up to full speed quick enough,” he explained. “It took a few laps to get the performance back and when that happens it's a real struggle to keep anyone behind you.”
Turner’s closing laps of the two-hour race included a 10-lap battle with Callum Macleod’s Bentley and unfortunately on the penultimate lap Turner ran wide at Turn 4, which meant the Bentley had the edge on the Aston Martin in the run up to Turn 5. The Bentley slipped past as Turner battled to get his front end turned in.
“After qualifying, if you’d said we would finish fourth on the track then that would have been a very good result,” said Turner. “Although we didn’t get it on the track we were awarded third place after the race, along with some very welcome extra points. Of course I’m disappointed that I wasn't able to defend right up until the flag but we were saved by the post-race penalty!”
Last weekend Darren took part in one of the world’s toughest endurance events: the London Marathon! Even though he and his wife Katie - who were both running for the Born Free Foundation - had done all of their training in snow, hail, cold winds and rain, the Marathon was the hottest on record! Despite this Darren finished in 4hrs:39mins:27secs and Katie in 5hrs:34mins:12secs.
“It’s certainly a lot more pleasant doing 26 miles in a car than it is on foot,” said Darren. “I was so proud to make it to the end in those conditions and between us we raised over £6,000 for Born Free so THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored us!”