UNLUCKY TINCKNELL MISSES OUT ON TOP RESULT IN GERMANY
Rare “flash fire” at pit-stop denies Harry top GTE Pro result who swept through field in first hour
Britain’s Harry Tincknell missed out on scoring a top result for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team in the 6 Hours of Nürburgring today (24 July) when his Ford GT caught fire briefly during a pit-stop. Tincknell, sharing the “factory” Ford GT with co-drivers Andy Priaulx and Marino Franchitti was placed second after an hour but came home an unrepresentative seventh in the German race.
Tincknell, who first raced at the Nürburgring in July 2011 in a British Formula 3 Championship race finishing third, started the Ford GT from the third row of the GTE Pro grid on Sunday afternoon in sunshine and on a totally dry track. “Tinks” was at the back of an intense four-car battle for second place, making a stunning overtaking manoeuvre to move up to fourth place on 50mins.
After the first hour, Harry made a scheduled pit-stop placed second – right behind the class leader – for a driver change, fuel and tyres but disaster struck when a problem with a fuel valve caused a spillage, which then ignited a flash fire. Priaulx jumped out as the blaze was quickly extinguished while the Ford GT eventually resumed seventh in class after a 23mins pit-stop to clean off the extinguisher residue. A further 12mins pit-stop was required to rectify a misfire after two hours. Tincknell was back behind the wheel of the Ford following stints by Priaulx and Franchitti, Harry setting the second fastest lap in the GTE Pro class – a mere four thousandths of a second slower than the quickest time. The fifth round of the WEC is staged in Mexico City on 3 September.
Harry says: “The fire was unfortunate but that can be motor racing but after Le Mans and now here at the Nürburgring, hopefully our car’s luck will change soon. I couldn’t be happier with my pace this weekend. My times were fast and consistent while my race craft was right up there against some of the best GT drivers in the world – this was only my fourth GTE race after all. I was pleased with my overtaking during my first stint – especially the one on [Gianmaria] Bruni. Going into Turn 1, he half defended so I stayed on my normal line before diving through on the inside to pass him. This is still only my fifth ever GT race so it was satisfying to pass the guy that many people say is the fastest GT racer out there. I think we’re looking very competitive for the remainder of the WEC season – especially on the high speed tracks. It’s easy to forget this was only the Ford GT’s fourth WEC race. The tight, twisty corners at the Nürburgring weren’t ideal for our car but we are making progress with every lap, learning about the Ford. Qualifying the previous day ultimately proved disappointing as I was on pole until the very last lap but was shuffled down to fifth as the track dried with every lap. Andy started qually but we didn’t have time to put him back in for the final few laps which would almost definitely have improved our average lap time that sets grid positions.”