After a strong showing throughout the weekend, Andrew Watson and the Garage 59 team were forced into an early retirement at the Paul Ricard 1000km after debris caused severe damage to the radiator of the #159 Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Andrew and his fellow Garage 59 team mates, Valentin Hasse-Clot and James Pull, entered the weekend in third place in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Silver Cup standings and were looking forward to the challenge that lay ahead of them.
Andrew displayed an excellent turn of speed in qualifying by setting the second-fastest Silver Cup time in his group with a 1:54.480. The lap also meant he was the fastest of the three #159 drivers and secured them a third-place starting spot on the Silver class grid.
Chosen to lead the team’s efforts on race day, Andrew took the start of the six hour event and quickly began to make an impression, climbing to second place in class after just half an hour.
Unfortunately, the 25-year-old was forced to bring the car back to the pits after just 33 laps of running. It was discovered that the radiator had sustained serious damage from a piece of debris on track and the team’s race was over.
“It’s devastating to end the season like this,” Andrew said. “We came here looking forward to the race and knew what we needed to do. I felt really good in the car all weekend and was happy with my performance in qualifying to help get us to third on the grid. We made a good start to the race and I was able to get into second place before we picked up the damage. I’m gutted for everyone as they’ve all worked so hard this season and I really wanted to thank them with a strong result. Nevertheless, we gave it our best shot and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Valentin, James and all of the Garage 59 team this year.”
Image courtesy of GT World Challenge Europe.