TINCKNELL LEADS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER DRAMATIC COMEBACK VICTORY
Exeter’s Harry Tincknell vaulted to the top of the FIA World Endurance Championship standings after a stunning fight back to win the opening round at Silverstone on Easter Sunday. Alongside team mates Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani, the #67 Ford GT crossed the line 15 seconds ahead of its nearest rival to secure a home victory for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Tincknell and Priaulx opened the season with an emphatic qualifying performance to score pole position by over 8 tenths of a second. But any advantage was short lived. After only 10 minutes of the 6 hour race, Priaulx struggled at the front of the field with a technical issue, enforcing an unscheduled pit stop which sent the crew tumbling down the order to last in the GT Pro class.
In mixed conditions, Derani drove the middle stint of the race before pitting from 7th place under a Full Course Caution to hand over to Tincknell with 2 hours 37 minutes remaining. The reigning European Le Mans Series champion immediately set a searing pace in an effort to regain lost ground and a well timed safety car bunched the pack up, with the #67 moving up to 4th after some strategic positioning from the Ford team. When the race resumed, Tincknell wasted little time overtaking the #91 Porsche and the #51 Ferrari in two well timed moves before taking the lead during the penultimate round of pit stops. It was a lead that would not be relinquished, as Harry lapped the 5.8km circuit consistently faster than his class rivals, building a comfortable lead to take the win on home soil.
Harry Tincknell (GB):
“I can’t believe it, I’m absolutely over the moon to win at Silverstone. It looked like we were completely up against it when Andy had an issue with the car but everyone kept their heads during those tense moments. We set about making up the lost ground and Pipo did an excellent job in his first race for Ford. The set up was absolutely perfect for my two and half hour stint and once the safety car came out, I knew the win was possible”.
“It was fantastic to be in the thick of the action, racing nose to tail with Porsche, Ferrari and the sister Ford car. Once I was in the lead I just kept pushing as hard as possible to build a gap, I felt really in the zone and never doubted we were going to win. I had a lot of friends, family and my sponsors, Goodridge, supporting me this weekend and I really had to take it all in on the final lap, what a comeback”!
Harry leads the FIA World Endurance Championship standings by 8 points. 2017 is the first year that the GT Pro Class is officially recognised as a World Championship. The second round takes place at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, on the 6th May