Harry finishes 6th on the road only to be demoted after a post race time penalty was applied for an infringement during the first pit stop.
Harry Tincknell endured a tough ending to his 2018 season at the Shanghai International Circuit. The 5th round of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship was held in torrid conditions just outside the Chinese capital and it proved to be a long afternoon for the 27 year old and his Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Tincknell’s team mate, Guernseyman Andy Priaulx, started from the unusually low position of 7th on the grid following a dramatic qualifying session where the #67 briefly caught fire in the garage during the routine, pre session warm up. Luckily damage was minimal and the Ford mechanics did a fantastic job to repair the car in time for the second half of qualifying, allowing Tincknell and Priaulx to at least get themselves halfway up the GTE Pro grid.
Dry weather on Saturday turned into torrential rain for race day. After starting behind the safety car, the race was red flagged due to the unsafe nature of the track with standing water covering many areas of the 3.4 mile circuit. Racing briefly resumed but with cars spiralling out of control in the perilous conditions, the officials were once again forced to suspend the race.
Finally, with 3 hours and 40 minutes remaining on the clock, the race resumed and Priaulx immediately set about trying to fight through the spray and up the order. But disaster struck on lap 30 when following closely to an LMP1 competitor, Priaulx slid wide at the first corner, beaching the Ford GT in the gravel. Crucially however, he managed to haul his way back onto the circuit before the car lost a lap to the overall leader and pitted to hand over to Tincknell at the half way point of the 6 hour race.
Now at the wheel in last place and with nothing to lose, Tincknell started the the fight back passing the sister Ford during the pit phase on lap 65 and overtaking the Corvette of Oliver Gavin at turn one on the following lap. On a role but still with a lot of time to make up, Tincknell hunted down the BMW of Dutchman Nicky Catsberg and took 8th position on lap 86 while a problem for the second BMW moved the Devonian higher to 7th.
Not finished yet, Tincknell had the #71 Ferrari in his sights, passing Italian Davide Rigon on the penultimate lap to move up to 6th place at the checkered flag. Initial delight of a spirited comeback were short lived, as shortly after the race the #67 car was handed a 54 second penalty for an infringement at Priaulx’s first pit stop, demoting the car to 10th place, scoring just a solitary point for their afternoon’s work.
Harry Tincknell (GB):
"It was a tough and demanding weekend with lots of obstacles to overcome. We had a lot of set up issues with the car during practice while the fire before qualifying coupled with the horrendous conditions on Sunday meant that it would have been easy to jump in the car in last place and given up. But we did exactly the opposite and I am proud that we kept fighting to the finish as high up the order as possible. We definitely struggled to maximise grip from our wet tyres this weekend so we will go away and analyse what we can do to improve this and make sure that we come back next year stronger and with no penalties!"
Harry’s next FIA World Endurance Championship race is the 1000 miles of Sebring on the 15th March, 2019.