Harry Tincknell remains in the lead of the European Le Mans Series points standings after the Briton recorded his third ELMS top-three finish in as many races today (17 July). Tincknell, together with co-drivers Simon Dolan and Giedo van der Garde, brought their JOTA Sport operated G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan home in to third place less than one minute behind the winning car after dramas at both the start and the end of the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring race. Tincknell/Dolan/van der Garde arrived in Austria with a 13-point lead in the standings after placing first and second in the opening two races but left 8pts ahead at what is the midway point in the six-race series. Harry has finished second and third respectively in the ELMS for the past two years and was left to reflect on an unlucky 13th ELMS race of his career.
Tincknell, having qualified on pole for the past two years, set the third fastest time around the 2.69-mile circuit nestling in the foothills of the Styrian Alps, in the 10mins qualifying session for grid positions the previous day with van der Garde then Dolan driving before Harry took over the wheel placed fourth with 88mins remaining van der Garde having pitted inside 10mins with a left front puncture following contact with another car and dropping to 16th overall. Tincknell, driving superbly after solid recovery stints by van der Garde who set the race's fastest lap and Dolan, moved into third place with 50mins to run and four minutes later swept into second. Moments later Harry actually took the lead as the erstwhile race leader exited the pits before Tincknell himself had to make his final scheduled pit-stop with 41mins to run.
Harry resumed second but disaster struck almost immediately when a car exiting a corner half spun in front of the #Mighty38 and collided with the Gibson, Tinks pitting for a new left front fender. Harry resumed third under Full Course Yellow conditions which his accident had caused but with the Gibson's pace handicapped due to additional aero damage caused in the accident, Tincknell ultimately came home an agonising 7.486secs adrift of the second-placed car. The fourth race in the series is staged at Paul Ricard in France on 28 August.
Harry says: "I suppose I should be happy with third today and to be still leading the championship after our dramas but I'm honestly a little disappointed. Giedo was very unlucky with the puncture which cost us valuable time and then drove well to get back through the field while Simon did an excellent job in the middle part of the race. We were fourth when I got in the car and immediately pushed hard. I did two nice moves on the brakes to get into the lead a couple of laps apart. But then right at the beginning of my second stint, I was overtaking a car on the exit of the same corner and it spun the wheels up and came right across the track in front of me, crashing in to my front left corner. It broke the fender and the splitter so I made the briefest of pit-stops for repairs, our pit crew doing a fabulous job, but in the end had to bring the car home with further damage that caused a lot of vibration and porpoising forcing me to brake softer and earlier into corners which obviously had a detrimental effect on my laps times and meant I couldn't challenge for second place in the closing laps. On Saturday, I got the most out of the Gibson in qualifying. Compared to the latest generation closed cockpit Coupés, the #Mighty38 is not ideal over one flying lap. Nevertheless, it was a really good lap and only 0.126secs off getting my third consecutive Red Bull Ring pole."