Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Grabs Second Place in GTE Pro at Le Mans 24 Hours
#67 Ford GT takes second in GTE Pro at the Le Mans 24 Hours in thrilling finish
Marks second year in a row that Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has made the podium at the legendary event
The podium earned the #67 team double points toward the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship title
|LE MANS, France, June 18, 2017 The #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Andy Priaulx (GB), Harry Tincknell (GB), and Pipo Derani (BRA) grabbed the runner-up spot of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours at the final corner of the final lap. Last minute struggles for the second-placed Corvette gave Tincknell the opportunity to pounce at the Ford Chicane and take the place just as the chequered flag fell.
In a door-to-door battle of manufacturers through the full 24-hours, the #67 crew that won the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener at Silverstone proved their mettle once again with strong strategy and an incredible effort from the entire team.
That was an amazing race, Priaulx said. It was a faultless race with faultless pit stops. These guys (the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team) deserve a medal as yet again they have risen to the challenge. It was a gruelling race; we had to fight through every lap, every pit stop, every moment of the 24 hours. Everything had to be perfect and it was. Watching Harry at the end was nail-biting so when we saw the Corvette appear in Harrys sights we knew he would get the job done and take second.
All four Ford GTs finished the Le Mans 24 Hours, which was one of the most brutal 24-hour races at the Circuit de la Sarthe for many years. Last years race-winning #68 Ford GT came home in sixth place, followed by the #69 car on seventh and the #66 in tenth place.
Wow, what a race, said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. It was a tough one, but everyone stuck with it. This proves that you have to stick with it right until the very end. To take second place on our second time here is amazing. First is always best but well take this because its a great result for this team. It was huge for us in the WEC championship so its not just a great finish, but its also great for the championship we want to win this year.
All four of the teams Ford GTs showed promise early, leading laps at the 14km/8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. Then, as dusk fell, the challenges came fast and furiously.
The #66 Ford GT was leading the category four hours in with Billy Johnson (US) behind the wheel after Stefan Mcke (GER) started eighth, but 10 hours later a rear suspension problem sent their team-mate Olivier Pla (FRA) into the gravel and the #66 to the back of the pack permanently.
The #68 struggled in qualifying and lined up 12th on the grid. Although it led briefly thanks to a charge by Dirk Mller (GER) and showed pace, a series of pit lane challenges kept the team from showing its real promise.
Of the two full-time IMSA SportsCar Championship cars (#68 and #69), it was #69 that really showed promise going into race day. It qualified highest among the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs in fifth place and although starting driver Richard Westbrook reported understeer, still appeared to be a podium contender. It wasnt long, though, before the #69 had to pit to fix a tail lamp issue a problem that would resurface again the next day and hinder the progress of Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon the next day as well.
|Source and Images: Image.net|