Victory in China

Victory in China

SHANGHAI, China (Nov. 5th, 2017) – Courtesy Ford Performance – Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell’s victory at the 6 Hours of Shanghai has thrown the fight for the 2017 GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship wide open ahead of the final round in Bahrain in two weeks’ time. This is the British duo’s second consecutive win in Shanghai and could prove to be the turning point for their 2017 championship campaign.

“That was a big win for the team today, not just for this race but for the Championship,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We are definitely now within striking distance and look forward to closing the deal in Bahrain. The competition is strong and we fell short on the Manufacturer’s title but congratulate Ferrari and look forward to competing against them again next year.”

The #67 and #66 Ford GTs started the race from fourth and fifth places respectively on the grid after tactically preserving their tyre allocation during Saturday’s qualifying session. Andy Priaulx was blocked in the #67 GT so slipped back to sixth but Olivier Pla got off to a flying start in the #66 Ford GT, blasting his way through from fifth to third by the end of lap one.

Priaulx got his head down and began the fight back for the #67 GT, which made steady progress through the field throughout the race, emerging victorious at the chequered flag but not before the type of battles that can make the team watching from the garage very nervous indeed. With just over two hours of the race remaining he passed the #91 Porsche to take the lead.

“That was probably our most hard-fought win so far and the most rewarding,” Priaulx said. “Every moment was critical. Every lap, every pit stop, it all had to be perfect. We really needed this result and we’re back in the fight for the driver’s championship. It’s our fourth win together so we must be doing something right. We couldn’t do it without this brilliant team. The car was great, the pit stops were perfect, and the strategy was perfect. All we need to do now is go to Bahrain and win again!”

In the closing stages of the race it was down to Harry Tincknell to make the #67 Ford GT as wide as possible to defend the lead.

“I was quite emotional on the final lap as this win has been a long time coming,” Tincknell said. “We knew we had a job on our hands starting fourth but we didn’t give up and when we needed to put the hammer down we got the job done. I knew I was going to be vulnerable to the Porsche at the end and I had to do everything I could to defend. I managed to keep him behind until the final pit stop when the boys gave me some fresher tyres, which took the heat off me for the final half hour. This win was a massive all-round team effort and I’m so happy.”

The #66 crew also drove the perfect race but a problem in one of the early pit stops put an end to their podium charge.

“The race started really well for us,” Mücke said. “Olivier did a great job to move up to second and took off after the leader. My first stint was good too, I was able to stay with the leader as we pulled away from the pack. We lost time in the second pit stop when the door didn’t shut properly. We were able to pit under a Full Course Yellow so we didn’t lose too much time but it cost us track position. We kept fighting and I had a good battle with one of the Porsches, which I was able to pass and close up the gap to the #67 GT that was leading by that point. Olivier jumped in for the final 1.5 hours but by then we were struggling with tyre wear. It’s disappointing as we were in a position for a double podium today. The team were perfect with the pit stops so everything was in place but it just wasn’t our day. We will fight on in Bahrain!”

The season finale of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship takes place in Bahrain in just two weeks’ time.