Great qualifying from Harry undone by an extremely tricky race in Japan which was red flagged twice due to horrendous weather conditions.
Harry Tincknell and his Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Andy Priaulx slid to 5th position in the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship standings after finishing the 6 Hours of Fuji race in 8th place. The duo are now 17.5 points adrift of the leaders with two races of the season remaining.
Tincknell’s excellent form in qualifying continued when he set the fastest lap for Ford to record his second consecutive front row start with 2nd place at a very wet Fuji International Speedway. The Japanese venue was lashed with huge amounts of rain and fog throughout the weekend, which created very treacherous track conditions and limited visibility for the drivers.
The forecast heavy rain for Sunday relented slightly and the 6-hour race started behind the safety car. After three laps the track went green and immediately Tincknell and the lead Porsche of Richard Lietz began to pull away from the rest of the field. The safety car was deployed after 80 minutes due to worsening weather conditions and the race was halted completely two laps later.
After a 30 minute pause the race resumed behind the safety car and Tincknel pitted from 2nd place to hand over to Priaulx. A pit lane infringement hit the #67 car with a costly one minute stop-and-go penalty, which put them a lap down on the leader. Contact with a Porsche later on in the race while trying to make up for lost ground damaged the rear right tyre and as Priaulx braked for for the first corner on the following lap, disaster struck as the car rotated 90 degrees to the left and smashed into the guardrail, coming to rest in the gravel.
The Ford Chip Ganassi crew did a fantastic job of repairing the front and rear of the car and Tincknell jumped back in, albeit now 13 laps down on the rest of the GT field. Just two laps later the race was red flagged again due to heavy fog which ultimately never shifted and the race was abandoned. The #67 car was classified in 8th place, scoring four points.
Harry Tincknell (GB):
“It was obviously a disappointing result this weekend. Conditions were very difficult and it’s the first time the car has hit the barriers since we started this programme, 18 months ago. I’m proud of all the mechanics for never giving up and fixing the car so quickly so we could at least score some points but there is no doubt we have it all to do now if we are to win the World Championship. Overall, I am happy with how I drove throughout the weekend and qualifying was once again a very strong performance. But we win and lose together as a team and I hope with more luck on our side we can transfer these good qualifying performances into the races at the final two rounds”.
Tincknell is 5th in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The next round is the 6 Hours of Shanghai on the 5th November 2017.