ASTON MARTIN driver Jake Dennis has reflected on winning the Allan Simonsen Trophy after taking provisional pole for tomorrow’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
While the Briton will actually be starting third thanks to a two-place grid penalty, his lap of … was over four tenths clear of the next car in Saturday afternoon’s top ten shootout session, posting a time of 2:02.4946 to be quickest around the Mountain on debut.
Since Allan Simonsen’s death at Le Mans in 2013, the trophy has been handed out to the quickest car in qualifying ahead of Sunday’s race, regardless of penalties.
After the shootout, Dennis spoke about not only winning the now prestigious award but competing in a shootout in his first time at Bathurst.
“It’s (the Allan Simonsen Trophy) got a lot of history behind it and since the past three or four years of watching Bathurst, I’ve always watched the Aussie V8’s do Super Pole (shootout) and thought to do that is awesome,” Dennis said.
“This is the only championship to give you the one lap shootout and to do that, going as the last driver out, in the last race of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and put it on pole; honestly I was filled with goosebumps, happiness and excitement when I found out I did it.”
Heralding the Aston Martin Vantage in its last start in current GT3 trim, Dennis commented on the car’s balance all weekend long despite troubles in trying to get the tyres to work early in a stint.
“We had a strong car underneath us but as rookies it’s always difficult coming in,” he said.
“From testing we had a good balance and managed to put in some competitive lap times straight away and the car for Super Pole then was sensational. The balance was really strong and the lap was pretty good in all fairness; there wasn’t too much left in it.
“I saw (Raffaele) Marciello do a strong lap, it looked quite difficult for the guys out there and a 2:02.9 wasn’t the fastest lap we’d seen all day. I thought the track was quite far off but I didn’t know the last five driver’s lap times, I only knew the first five.
“I didn’t want to know if anyone had beaten the 2:02.9 so when I did my lap I crossed the line and there was no emotion, I didn’t know if it was enough or not.
“I didn’t leave anything left; my aim was to either put it in P1 or I crash. I went balls out and did the lap and everything came together.
“We’ve been struggling to try and get the tyre to work properly but I had a different warm-up procedure this time. I arrived at turn one and instantly had the grip which gave me confidence throughout the rest of the lap.
“Obviously it was enough to do the job so I’m extremely happy.”
Starting from third position tomorrow, the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin will need to find another way past the #999 Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the other #77 Craft Bamboo/Black Falcon entry from the same marque.