Aston Martin drivers Darren Turner and Tomas Enge are focusing on sealing second place in the inaugural FIA GT1 World Championship, despite having a mathematical chance of taking the title at San Luis in Argentina this weekend.
Turner and Enge, who drive for the German-run Young Driver AMR squad, remain within challenging distance of points leaders Andrea Bertolini and Micheal Bartels after claiming a win and a second at Interlagos last weekend. But Turner believes that the 28-point gap to the Vitaphone Maserati drivers will be too much to pull back over the two races around the Potrero de los Funes circuit on Sunday.
"I know we have a mathematical chance, but we've got to win both races or get close to the maximum score of 33 points to do it," said Turner. "It's a long shot unless Vitaphone really screw up. The main objective is to secure second place for Tomas and I in the drivers' championship and for Young Driver AMR in the teams' points."
The extra "success ballast" resulting from the successful weekend at Interlagos and the conditions at the track will also count against Aston Martin, reckons Turner.
"The 40 kilos and a low-grip surface and high temperatures are going to hurt us," he explained. "The Aston DBR9 doesn't like it when it's hot, but we should have more of a chance in the qualifying race on Sunday morning when it's a bit cooler."
Turner and Enge would be only three points behind had they not been disqualified from first place in the main race at Silverstone back in May.
"That's a disappointment, because we believe the penalty was harsh," said Turner. "We were disqualified because our [underfloor] plank was worn beyond the allowed limited at only one of the six measuring points. There was no measurable performance gain, so a grid penalty for the next race would have been more in keeping with the crime. It's a new championship and these cars weren't designed for a plank, so there should have been a bit of give and take."
Bertolini and Bartels need only six points to secure the title wherever Turner and Enge finish. The Aston drivers lie five points ahead of Phoenix Chevrolet driver Marc Hennerici and a further four ahead of Thomas Mutsch, who races a Matech Ford.