SILVERSTONE, U.K. – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has taken pole position fortomorrow’s ‘6 Hours of Silverstone’, the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. The #67 Ford GT of Andy Priaulx (GB), Harry Tincknell (GB) and Pipo Derani (BRA) will line up in first place in the GTE Pro class tomorrow, with the sister #66 Ford GT of Stefan Mücke (GER), Olivier Pla (FRA) and Billy Johnson (US) close behind in fourth place.
“That’s the way to start a new season,” said WEC Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell. “It was a fantastic effort from the guys on the #67 car with Andy being fast straight out of the box, followed up by Harry. The new Michelin tyres for 2017 are working exceptionally well so let’s see what the race brings. It was a little bit disappointing for #66. We went slightly astray with the set up over lunch but I’m sure we can fix that for tomorrow.”
The starting grid for each six-hour WEC race is set during a 20-minute qualifying session. Two drivers from each car must set at least one timed lap during the session. The qualifying time is the average of each driver’s best lap times combined – in effect the car takes the glory rather than an individual driver.
Andy Priaulx was first out on the #67 Ford GT and immediately posted a blistering time of 1:55.858. Harry Tincknell then backed him up with a 1:56.546 and the average put the #67 car on pole position.
“The car was really good,” commented Priaulx. “From the start of Free Practice 1 yesterday we have steadily improved the car every session. For me everything came together in qualifying and I had the perfect lap so I am really happy. We’ve been performing at 100%; we're not holding it back. We have a long race ahead of us tomorrow but we have a great car for the long distance. We have worked on tyre degradation and we’ve worked on setting a good balance so it all looks good.”
“Andy did a superb job,” said Tincknell. “I was really encouraged by our pace yesterday, especially on the long runs. This morning we certainly found a bit of a sweet spot with the car and we tinkered with it ever so slightly before qualifying. The main thing is that we still have three and half sets of new tyres for the race. We were thinking about the long game but we’ve come away with a pretty substantial pole.”
The 6 Hours of Silverstone gets underway tomorrow (Easter Sunday) at 12:00 BST (13:00 CET).