Harry Tincknell goes in search of his first sportscar championship title in Portugal on Sunday (18 Oct). The 23-year-old Briton, who only switched to the sportscar category 18 months ago, is looking to add the prestigious European Le Mans Series crown to his burgeoning portfolio that already includes winning last year's Le Mans 24 Hours on his début.
Tincknell along with JOTA Sport co-drivers Simon Dolan and Filipe Albuquerque head to the ELMS finalé at Estoril with a slender one-point lead having posted podium finishes in all four races so far this year. One win (Red Bull Ring) plus second (Silverstone) and third (Imola/Paul Ricard) placings in their Gibson 015S-Nissan means a tense battle for title honours is in prospect this weekend.
Having lost out on last year's championship title by a mere four-points, Harry is doubly determined to succeed this time around a quest made more difficult after a post-race penalty following last month's win at Paul Ricard. An unfortunate software glitch caused the team to breach the 90mins maximum driving time by less than two minutes turning celebrations in to commiserations in France last month. A somewhat harsh punishment of 45secs was given, hours after the post-race celebrations, for an innocent error that resulted in no gain or benefit to the leading and ultimately winning JOTA Gibson.
Two 90min Free Practice sessions are staged on Saturday (1030 & 1500). The following day features qualifying (0930) and the Four Hours of Estoril (1300).
* Times are BST
Harry says: "Immediately after the Paul Ricard win, we said we needed to go to Estoril with the same attitude of pushing for the pole-position and another race victory. Now we must do that for real and I honestly believe we can. Unlike Ricard, Estoril should be a really strong track for the Gibson and one that all three drivers know well. The car ran well there in 2014 and we finished on the podium despite a few incidents in the race. I think as a team we've grown much stronger this season and I am confident we can end on a high and take the Championship title that we deserve. Last season I qualified on pole by half a second and did the final stint of the race, pulling us up to third place at the chequered flag. Estoril is the track I've been looking forward to the most on the [ELMS] calendar and I'm aiming for the very top step of the podium."
Harry's Estoril fact file:
Debut: 2008 Formula Renault Winter Series (CRS Formula Renault).
Others: 2014 European Le Mans Series (set fastest time in qualifying, finished 3rd, JOTA Sport Zytek-Nissan).
Most recent: 2014 ELMS.
Comments: "The track is a high downforce circuit with a lot of braking zones and slow to medium speed corners. It is high on tyre wear and quite tight and twisty in places. These are all areas where the Gibson excels and we've found good set-ups for this track in the past. It's an old school circuit that hasn't change much from when the F1 visited there and requires a lot of commitment to be fast."