Ford hopes Bahrain test will give edge in GTE title battle


2016 World Endurance Championship. Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain. 16th - 19th November 2016. Photo: Drew Gibson

Ford Chip Ganassi‘s Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell are hoping to triumph in a three-way GTE title battle in the final 2017 FIA WEC round, this weekend’s Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain.

The All-British #67 Ford had lead the GT championship until a crash at Fuji saw them drop to fifth in the standings.

However, victory at the previous round in Shanghai brought them back into contention and they only sit just 7.5 points of the championship leading #51 Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The Ford and the Ferrari will do battle with the #91 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, with just 7.5 points separating the three teams.

Ford’s bid for victory has been helped by a test in Bahrain and Ford WEC team principal, George Howard-Chappell hopes the preparation will help them overcome the points gap.

“We’re behind on points but we will do everything we can to overhaul the Ferrari and the Porsche,” he said, who said that the team’s strategy was to approach it like every other race and stay cool in the pit stops.

Driver Harry Tincknell had a more clearer goal. “We need to go to Bahrain and win,” Tincknell said. “There are 7.5 points between us and the Ferrari drivers and you get 25 for a win, 18 for second and a point for pole.

If we get pole position and the win we’ll be world champions. We’ve been taking it one race at a time this year, whether we felt we were in with a shot at victory or not. We just need to keep the same, relaxed attitude and that’s what the team will do, too. It’s all in our hands now.”

The other Ford GT ,the #66 of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mücke, are hoping to end their season on a high in Bahrain.

A disappointing run of results has left the #66 down in eighth place in the standings, behind the Aston Martins, but second place in Shanghai and the test in Bahrain has given the team the confidence to secure a good result.

“We will push to get the best possible result for the Ford GTs”, said Pla.

“Tyres will be an important factor again in Bahrain, especially as the temperature drops when it goes dark.

“We learnt a lot at the test though, so we are feeling confident.”