Aston Martin Racing have claimed victory against rivals Ferrari after an intense six-hour battle in Mexico City.
The #95 V8 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen edged out the Italian outfit for the Banbury team.
We looked strong here last year and we fully expected our rivals to be significantly more competitive this weekendTeam boss Paul Howarth
After starting on the front row alongside the pole-sitting #71 Ferrari, Sorensen fought hard throughout the first hour to not only maintain a close gap to the race leader, but take the lead towards the end of his first stint. While their rivals regained the lead following the first round of pit stops, the Danish pair continued to sustain the pressure.
Sorensen said: “The first stint of the race I really found there was a lot of pressure to perform but we really did what we could and I had to drive like an absolute animal to keep up with Bird.
“It was a great feeling to catch and overtake him at the end of my stint. We lost out in the pit stop but we managed to keep it close and get back into the lead later on.
“We thought that it would rain in the final hour of the race, so we went flat out to see what we could do on fresh Dunlops in each of the first four stints with a double stint planned at the end if it remained dry.”
With one hour and 30 minutes left on the clock, a full course yellow for a rogue baseball found on the track gave the team the opportunity to capitalise by taking their fourth pit stop with a minimal time disadvantage, placing Thiim in the car for a final double stint. A second full course yellow allowed the team to fill Thiim’s Vantage GTE to the end with just over an hour remaining.
With Thiim showing great pace in the final hours, the Dane finally crossed the line with a 9.159 lead.
The #97 V8 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra was unfortunately retired after experiencing brake issues earlier in the race.
In GTE Am, Aston Martin Racing also claimed a second podium for the day, as the #98 V8 Vantage GTE of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Laud took second.
Team boss Paul Howarth said: “I can’t praise the team and crew enough for today’s effort. We looked strong here last year and we fully expected our rivals to be significantly more competitive this weekend.
“That was certainly the case and to be locked in a battle like that for the full six hours really shows the strength of our crew not to crack under pressure. We’ll hope to ride on this success once we head to Austin and fight to keep our championship bid on track.”