TINCKNELL CRUELLY MISSES OUT ON EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
Briton denied coveted silverware for second consecutive year
Britain’s Harry Tincknell has missed out on claiming the prestigious European Le Mans Series title for a second consecutive year. Tincknell, who celebrates his 24th birthday later this month (29 Oct), was denied the coveted Drivers’ “crown” along with JOTA Sport team-mates Simon Dolan and Filipe Albuquerque after the trio finished fourth in the fifth and final race of the season in Portugal today (18 Oct).
Harry and his team colleagues finished a lap down on the winner in the Four Hours of Estoril meaning that the JOTA Sport Gibson trio ultimately finished third in the final championship standings, four-points behind the winners. Tincknell had cruelly missed out on the 2014 ELMS championship by the same margin in a season that saw him win the LM P2 category in the Le Mans 24 Hours with a staggering fifth place overall and be awarded the ELMS “Rookie of the Year”.
The “factory” Nissan NISMO driver, a multiple race winner in various single-seater formulae including Formula Renault and Three between 2009-13, recorded four podium finishes from the five ELMS races this year – including one win. He achieved three front row starts himself – including two “pole” positions – from three qualifying attempts plus two fastest race.
Albuquerque started the JOTA Sport Gibson 015S-Nissan from pole-position on the 30-car grid in the ELMS finalé at Estoril with a slender two-point lead after the team had received a time penalty costing them a deserved race victory in the previous race at Paul Ricard in France and subsequently severely reduced championship lead.
The Portuguese led throughout his opening stint but a sudden heavy downpour with 100mins on the clock caught Dolan out. The leading JOTA Gibson slowly spun into the gravel trap, requiring a tow-out by a recovery vehicle under Full Course Yellow conditions, Simon resumed seventh but now over 90secs off the lead.
Harry, competing around the 2.6-mile track for only the third time in his career having finished third in last year’s corresponding race after claiming “pole”, was behind the wheel of the fifth-placed Gibson for the first time with 90mins to run. Harry immediately set the fastest lap of the race on the now near dry track – an amazing 0.649secs faster than any other car. Tincknell moved into fourth place with 42mins remaining before making his final pit-stop 12mins later for fuel, Harry duly taking the chequered flag in that position despite a sterling effort.
In addition to his second consecutive year racing for JOTA Sport in ELMS, Tincknell competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the “factory” Nissan NISMO team in the innovative GT-R LM NISMO. The team has been working hard to address the technical issues it faced in the race four months ago and is in the middle of a comprehensive test and development programme to prepare the new car to race against the tough competition it faces in the LM P1 class in 2016. Multiple changes have been made to the GT-R LM NISMO since Le Mans but the original design principles remain. The team completed a two-day test at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, last month with Tincknell and Olivier Pla at the wheel.
“I feel pretty devastated to have the ELMS title snatched away in the final race for the second consecutive year after another dominant season. We started every ELMS race from the front row while this race was the first this season that we didn’t finish on the podium. Apart from the championship result, I’ve enjoyed racing with JOTA Sport again. I have loved driving the Gibson this year and personally netted two ‘poles’ and two fastest race laps. My pace was good when I took over Simon, managing to set a series of quick laps including the races fastest lap – almost seven tenth’s faster than the second quickest car. But something on the rear wing broke costing me a massive amount of time. I’m sure JOTA Sport will come back bigger and stronger in 2016.”