Harry endures personal 24 Hour race disappointment but shows strong pace in Ford GT
Britain's Harry Tincknell celebrated Ford's historic Le Mans winning return despite enduring huge personal disappointment in the 24 Hour race that finished today (19 June). Tincknell, together with co-drivers Andy Priaulx and Marino Franchitti, brought their Ford GT home ninth in the GTE Pro class after a gearbox issue early in the race effectively scuppered their podium ambitions. The three remaining sister Ford GTs placed first, third and fourth 50 years since the manufacturer's historic 1-2-3 outright race finish with the Ford GT40.
The Tincknell/Priaulx Franchitti Ford GT should have started the 84th running of the legendary race from fourth place in the GTE Pro category courtesy of Harry after qualifying sessions on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. But the Ford joined the back of the 60-car field 15mins into the race, and crucially already two laps down, following a pit-stop to rectify a gearbox issue encountered on the warm-up lap moments before the start.
Harry, who had placed fourth (Silverstone, April) and second (Spa-Francorchamps, May) in his two opening races for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, completed four individual stints behind the wheel, equating to approximately eight hours, during the annual twice-around the clock race Harry's third and final scheduled event for the Ford team. The stints saw 24-year-old Tincknell, competing in the world's most famous and gruelling twice-around-the-clock race for the third time having achieved an LMP2 victory in 2014 on his Le Mans debut, experience a variety of challenging track conditions. Whether early on Saturday evening, in the early hours of Sunday morning in total darkness, later just after dawn, and finally taking the chequered flag, Tincknell drove consistently fast and mistake-free.
"Congratulations to Ford on this historic victory it's a fantastic result for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. Although Le Mans was a four-car entry, we're one big team, and we accomplished the plan of getting one home on the top step of the rostrum of course it's a little unfortunate that it wasn't mine! All four Fords finished, two on the podium. My car played a big supporting role in this success trying different tyre strategies and aero that could then aid our sister cars that were in a position to challenge for the class win. I was more than happy to be a team player that ultimately led to Ford's success. I am extremely happy with the way I drove in fact I believe it was one of the best race's I've ever driven. Qualifying on Wednesday evening went very well. I was absolutely flying in my first stint during the race and was the quickest GTE Pro car for a number of laps. I had a good mix of everything, driving at different times of the day, while it was the first time I'd personally taken the chequered flag at Le Mans. Quite a lot went on but my stints were pretty straight forward."