Harry Tincknell on the podium in Bahrain MRF round
Harry Tincknell battled to a podium finish in the second round of the MRF Challenge supporting the Bahrain 6 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The 21-year-old Devon racer worked through inconsistencies on his car to take a strong fourth place in the first race of the weekend, before finishing third in race two and standing on the Sakhir International Circuit podium.
The results mean that FIA Formula 3 European Championship race winner Tincknell moves up to seventh position in the MRF standings – good progress after suffering bad luck in the opening round at the Indian Grand Prix meeting.
Harry qualified fifth, and then converted that into fourth place on the opening lap when he passed Shinya Michimi at the fast Turn 8. A safety car closed the field up, but Tincknell could not challenge the trio ahead, instead holding off Michimi for the duration of the race for fourth.
“I had a good start but just didn’t have the pace of the front three,” reported Harry. “I had brake-balance problems, with massive instability at the end of braking zones, whereas in Formula 3 I’m used to it being very consistent all the way through a braking zone.
“I also had understeer in the high-speed corners. It’s a lot different in MRF Challenge to F3 with Carlin. In F3 I relied a lot on my engineer Stefan de Groot, but in MRF the cars are all run by a central organisation and you have one engineer across two cars.
“It’s good for me though, because I’m having to really think about things and come up with my own ideas on engineering, and that will put me in a good position in my career.”
With the top six reversed on the grid for race two, Tincknell would start this one from third on the grid. He got up to second at the beginning of the race, but was passed by leading title contender Tio Ellinas on the sixth lap of 10.
“I got another good start,” he said. “I was quick at that point of the race but halfway through the car’s balance started to fall off a bit and I couldn’t keep Tio behind. Still, a podium was a good result to build on.”
Based on his qualifying performance, Harry was due to start race three from fifth on the grid, but unfortunately a driveshaft broke on the formation lap and he was left to frustratedly watch the action.
“We loaded more front wing on for this race, and the car felt really good on the way round to the grid before the formation lap,” he said. “I felt confident but then the driveshaft broke. There were about six driveshaft failures among the field over the weekend and they know what the problem is, and it will be fixed for the next race. It’s annoying, but that’s racing I guess.”
Unfortunately, with the result of this race deciding the grid for what should have been the fourth race of the weekend, that means Harry will start from the rear of the grid. This race was postponed due to fading light, but will be held at the beginning of the next race weekend, which is also in Bahrain, on December 19th-21st.
“It’s a double-whammy, but I have to be happy with the podium,” said Tincknell,
who is a member of the BRDC’s Rising Stars initiative. “From qualifying onwards we made some steady improvements, and the results have been reasonably good apart from the non-start.
“It’s been a fun weekend again, and the championship is getting increasingly impressive, which is good considering that it has been going for such a short time. It’s going to be busy next time out – we already had four races and we now have a fifth because of the postponement, and that particular race I’m going to have some work to do from the back of the grid!”