It’s another pole position at Spa for Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx in the #67 Ford. That’s four this season for Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK.
Coupled with the #7 Toyota’s pole position, the qualifying session for the 6 Hours of Spa had a serious case of deja vu. The last time we were here, at the start of the Super Season, a pair of Brits managed to stick their Ford on GTE Pro pole. And in 2019 they’ve done it again. Step forward Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell. These two have been a force to be reckoned with throughout their time at Ford. And today proved how well the whole team works together.
It was Priaulx who started the session, a dry track awaited him with the threat of showers looming overhead. A few fliers down, it’s a 2:13s time for the man from Jersey. Box time. Priaulx’s out, Tincknell’s in. Harry soon breaks into the 2:12’s but so do plenty of their rivals, and the #67 slips down the order. Clearly not happy with that, the team calls Harry back to hand the car over to Priaulx once more. There’s not much time left in the session, but Andy puts in a 2:12.797, a lap good enough to get pole for the pair. Not only is it good enough for pole, but it also beats his teammate’s fastest time.
Priaulx has had an extensive career, and when asked how this lap ranked among the rest, he joked: “Well when you get to my age, you can’t remember what happened yesterday!” Cue media centre chuckles, before he continued. “It was a really nice special experience. I think Harry nailed a fantastic 12.9. I got back in the car and I knew I really had to be on my A game to try and better that, and it just came together really well.”
“It’s always like that, in those moments when you have the pressure and you manage to find that sweet spot in your driving and you give everything and it works, that’s really special. I’ve had that a few times. I’m just enjoying every moment. I’m definitely keep looking at myself in the mirror and saying ‘when am I going to stop racing?’ But then moments like that, I just want to carry on. So it’s still in me and I’m really enjoying it.”
“Yeah it was a fantastic job by everyone on the #67 crew.” added Tincknell. “I think in all the practices, we’ve been there or thereabouts, but we haven’t just quite hit the sweet spot. They absolutely nailed the setup for qualifying. The car was on rails and it was just our pleasure to get to drive it around the track.”
“After the first round of tyres, we were a little bit down the leaderboard. I managed to put in a decent lap to get us second, and then the boys did a great turnaround to get Andy back out. I was just watching the sectors and what a lap it was just to sneak across the line a tenth ahead. It was so close, but that was an unbelievable lap from Andy. Looking ahead to the race, it’s our second pole in two years here at Spa. Last year didn’t end as well as I would have liked, so hopefully we’re going to put that right.”
So it’s celebrations all round, but the team was here this time last year. Despite some great driving, Tincknell suffered a severe crash at Eau Rouge and the team’s hopes of a win were shattered. This pair have been chasing a win all season and perhaps this weekend it will all come together.