Britain's Harry Tincknell in his sixth race for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team in the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas today (17 Sep) after another fine drive that practically went unrewarded. Tincknell, sharing the factory Ford GT with co-drivers Andy Priaulx and Marino Franchitti, finished fourth in the GTE Pro class in the North American race staged in Austin, Texas less than 14secs off scoring a second podium finish for Ford.
For his third consecutive race, Harry set very consistent and fast laps during his clean stints - Tincknell's on-track pace matching the searing hot ambient temperatures. It marked Harry's seventh FIA World Endurance Championship career top-six finish in only his 10th WEC race. Tincknell, who was racing at the Circuit of The Americas for the first time in his career, combined with Priaulx to claim a sixth in class grid start and got behind the wheel of the Ford GT for the first time in the race shortly after two hours, after single stints by Priaulx and Franchitti who both ran fifth for the majority of the time.
Harry remained fifth, the race run in energy-sapping heat and humid conditions despite the race starting in early evening but moved into fourth place after pitting during a brief Safety Car period. Tinks had impressively reduced the gap to third before pitting with two hours to run Priaulx duly taking fourth place at the chequered flag just 13.376secs off from what would have been a deserved podium finish. The Ford GT clocked up 555-miles at an average speed of almost 92mph.
Round seven of the WEC is staged at the Fuji International Speedway in Japan on 16 October but Tinks will be back in European Le Mans Series action next weekend (23-25 Sep). Harry lies second in the championship standings heading to the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, eight-points behind the series leaders. The race in Belgium is a new addition to the ELMS calendar with Tinks eager to retake the championship lead in the JOTA Sport operated G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan.
"I was really happy with my stints but again disappointed that we did not make the podium for the third consecutive race. I was super quick and fought well the consoling thing is that I know I'm driving well. The team did a good all-round job and it's just so gutting to be so close to getting on the podium. I had a couple of laps in qualifying excluded by the organisers for exceeding track limits which was frustrating. I felt they were debatable decisions but rules are rules and perhaps I ran wide by a couple of millimetres. One of the laps taken away from me was the fastest of the session."
"But I quickly need to refocus for next weekend's very important ELMS race. Spa is one of the world's great tracks and I'm lucky to have already had a lot of success there. In fact, I've been on the podium for all three of my previous visits when I raced a LMP2 sports-prototype in the WEC over the past two years including winning by over a lap last year. Those races were in May so racing there in September there will be a greater risk of changeable conditions but I think that will suit us. We need a good fight back from the entire team to regain the championship lead heading to the Estoril finalé."