The No.67 Ford GT drew first blood during the opening round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship.
Harry Tincknell, along with Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani crossed the line first despite a loose right-side door popping open, not once, but twice during the course of the 6-hour race. An early stop to fix the door issue put the No.67 on an alternative strategy which left them out of sync with the rest of the field for most of the race, until a safety car in the back half of the race brought the winning trio back into contention.
“After the first stint we were looking down and out but we never gave up,” said Priaulx, alluding to a technical problem the No. 67 crew experienced in the opening part of the race. “In my second stint I kept my head down and pushed to the maximum. For sure the safety car helped us but you make your own luck in racing. Coming out when it did it reset our race. It’s so good to be able to convert pole position to a win. We leave here leading the championship and we plan on keeping it that way.”
For Pipo Derani, the incredibley talented LMP2 driver, it was his first race with a new team and a new car; he will ride with the No.67 WEC Ford GT squad for the opening two rounds, plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“It wasn’t an easy race for me,” said Derani. “Everything is new so I had to learn a lot of things, including the tyre management, which on the GT is a little bit different than on a P2 car. It was a really good race and we didn’t expect to be here, especially after the beginning with the problem we had but the guys did a fantastic job, the team was phenomenal and we will enjoy our win.”
The No.66 car actually lead the GTLM class for most of the day but the safety car that helped the sister car actually wrecked the race for Billy Johnson, Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke.
“It’s a real shame,” said Mücke. “Of course it is great for the whole team to win at the start of the season but for us it’s hard to lead for so long then only finish fourth because of the safety car. It was out of our hands today and we will come back even stronger.”