TINCKNELL TAKES NARROW ELMS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD TO FINAL - AFTER CRUEL PENALTY
Harry heads for Estoril finalé leading title race by one point
Harry Tincknell will travel to Portugal for the European Le Mans Series finalé next month with a slender one-point championship lead. The British youngster had actually taken the chequered flag first in the Four Hours of Le Castellet yesterday (6 Sep), registering what he had thought was his and JOTA Sport's second successive ELMS win. But a 45secs penalty, confirmed three hours after the race, dropped the Tincknell/Simon Dolan/Albuquerque Gibson 015S-Nissan to an ultimate third place.
The penalty issued for Albuquerque driving for less than two minutes too long during his stint in the Gibson was tracked down to an innocent electronics software glitch but means that a championship lead of 18-points is now slashed to just one point. Harry had taken the Dunlop-shod JOTA Sport Gibson across the finishing line 30.290-seconds ahead of the second-placed car. Despite the penalty, the result marks Harry's seventh ELMS top-three career race result. A maximum haul of 26-points are up for grabs in next month's race.
Dolan began the race from pole-position after Tincknell had achieved his fifth ELMS pole from seven attempts the Nissan NISMO factory driving having achieved two front row starts in the two that he had missed out on. Co-driver Albuquerque then took over from Dolan meaning Tincknell brought the Gibson home to the finish, a near 40-minute final stint which saw Harry drive with speed, consistency and maturity to the extent that a near six seconds advantage when he took over was extended to over half a minute at the chequered flag. The result still means that Tincknell finishes on the winner's rostrum at Paul Ricard for the first time in his career. The fifth and final round of the European Le Mans Series is staged at Estoril in Portugal on 18 October a race in which Harry claimed pole and finished third in last year.
Harry Tincknell (GB). Age: 23. Born: Exeter, Devon, England. Lives: Sidmouth, Devon, England:
"We still lead the championship but I'm obviously bitterly disappointed to have lost the win. It was an innocent error and didn't gain us any time or advantage whatsoever. But rules are rules and we have to abide by them. By the time I took over the Gibson for the final 40min stint of the race it was fairly easy for me. It was a good race, my stint was just about bringing the car home which I did. Fast and consistent and it was the perfect weekend until a silly error cost us the race victory.
"Race day had actually got off to a great start when I claimed pole. I think it was my best ever [pole], the lap was pretty much perfect. The car was fantastic with the improvements Gibson had made over the winter really coming to the fore on the Ricard track. I was confident I could achieve pole but was also very aware that there were four or five other cars also in contention."