TINCKNELL MAINTAINS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER RECOVERY DRIVE IN BELGIUM
Harry Tincknell fought back from an early issue to score vital World Championship points at Spa Francorchamps to maintain his lead in the title race. In front of a packed crowd of 61,000 spectators, Tincknell started his Ford GT from 3rd on the grid, after a solid qualifying session alongside team mate Andy Priaulx. Tincknell consolidated the position over the opening 30 minutes of the race running line astern with team mate Olivier Pla and the two Ferrari 488s.
As these four cars pulled clear of the two Porsche 911s and Aston Martin Vantages, the action quickly heated up at the front. Pla was delayed by a backmarker at the world famous Eau Rouge corner, allowing Tincknell and the following Ferrari of James Calado to run three abreast up the Kemmel straight at 180mph. Tincknell edged ahead of Pla but Calado passed both Fords to move up to second. A lap and half later Harry readdressed the balance, pulling off a well judged overtake at the first corner to move up to 2nd.
The 25 year old then closed rapidly on the leading Ferrari before both cars pitted nose to tail on the 58 minute mark of the six hour race. However, disaster struck for the #67 car at the first pit stop. A fuel priming issue caused the car to slow to a halt on the exit of the pit lane with Tincknell having to do a full reset of the car while taking instruction over the radio from the Ford engineers. The GT was soon running at full speed once again but the whole incident lost the car over 100 seconds and dropped them from 2nd down to 8th in class.
Wasting no time, the #67 was consistently the quickest GT on the track and Tincknell caught up and passed both Aston Martins before pitting at the end of his double stint to hand over to Pipo Derani. The Brazilian continued from where Tincknell left off, catching and passing the first of the Porsches for 5th, before Priaulx took over driving duties for the final two hours of the race. He passed the lead 911 for 4th at the final corner and thereafter drove a constant final stint to bag 12 valuable points towards the World Championship standings. Despite the early delays, the #67 car would finish a mere 41 seconds away from a podium position.
Harry Tincknell (GB):
“I’m obviously disappointed that we had the issue that cost us so much time but I am also really proud of the whole team and how everyone reacted to fix the error as quickly as possible. Like Silverstone we never gave up, and to fight our way back through the field was a great effort. Up until that point everything was going well and I was really happy with the performance of the car”.
“We gained some very valuable points towards our World Championship title ambitions and to leave Belgium leading the standings is very good news. We’ve got a busy schedule over the next few weeks, putting the Ford GT through its paces in testing with everything leading up to the big race of the season, the Le Mans 24 Hours. After some tough moments this weekend, I am even more motivated to get back on the top step of the podium in June!”
Harry leads the FIA World Endurance GT Driver’s Championship by 2 points. The next race is 2017's Blue Ribbon event, the Le Mans 24 Hours on the 18th-19th June in France.