Tincknell races to top five spot at Rolex 24 At Daytona meeting

PUBLISHED: 10:38 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 31 January 2017

Harry Tincknell in action at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the USA

Harry Tincknell in action at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the USA

© 2017 Wes Duenkel

Harry Tincknell recorded an excellent top-five placing in this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona when the Briton brought his Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT home fifth in the GT Le Mans category in the twice-around-the-clock race that took place across the final weekend of January.

The 25-year-old reigning European Le Mans Series champion, partnered by Andy Priaulx (GB) and Tony Kanaan (Brazil), was competing in the annual Rolex event staged at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway for the first time.

Their #69 Ford missed out on a podium position by less than three seconds and victory by a further two seconds – the win going to the ‘sister’ Ford GT of Joey Hand/Dirk Müller/Sébastien Bourdais.

Tincknell, who was using the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a ‘warm-up’ for his second consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship season with the ‘works’ Ford team, marked his 10th race for Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT by scoring an eighth top-five class finish having achieved runners-up in the FIA LMGTE Pro Teams’ Endurance Trophy last year.

Harry took over the Ford GT for the first time four-and-a-half hours into the race in darkness and in unusually cool conditions following opening stints from Priaulx and Kanaan during Saturday afternoon, the #69 Ford consistently running inside the top-six – with Harry completing a two-hour stint.

Tincknell clocked a further three-hour stint behind the wheel in the early hours of Sunday morning in difficult, wet conditions – taking the #69 Ford GT into the class lead at 4am – and was back in the car with a little over four hours remaining for a further two hours, Harry again taking the class lead shortly before having to serve a drive through penalty for missing the pit lane entry.

The race, run in unseasonably cool weather conditions, featured 21 full course caution periods for on-track incidents and inclement weather conditions. Harry’s next race is the opening round of the WEC at Silverstone on Easter Sunday (April 16).

Harry said after his Daytona experience: ““I’ve never known a race like it. One minute I’m running sixth or seventh only for a few laps later to be leading. Some elements of it were the toughest I have known.

“The conditions at times were that bad that I almost went off the track during a Safety Car period in the rain at night. It’s an incredible event. You race hard from the start but it’s all about the last hour and keeping the car in one piece for that final flat out run to the chequered flag. Unfortunately, that was our downfall because we didn’t quite have it all together.

“We lost a little bit of performance, just a couple of mph on the straight but on this track that makes all the difference and you can go from being able to compete to just being able to hold on. That was a shame as we led the race on merit a couple of times. Overall it was a mega experience!

“The Americans know how to entertain. Bunching the cars up and going racing in this way is incredible. There was some great racing going on and I really want to come back next year.

Congratulations to Chip Ganassi Racing for adding a Daytona victory to the one achieved last year at Le Mans!”

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