Ford “nailed it” on way to Fuji win, says Priaulx

Andy Priaulx says his Ford squad “nailed it” in Sunday’s WEC 6 Hours of Fuji, as the Blue Oval took its first win in the series since its Le Mans 24 Hours triumph.

Ford “nailed it” on way to Fuji win, says Priaulx
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
Podium GTE PRO: winners #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, second place #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Olivier Pla, Stefan Mücke, third place #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: Gianmaria Bruni, James Calado
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
Podium GTE PRO: winners #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell
Podium GTE PRO: winners #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, second place #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Olivier Pla, Stefan Mücke, third place #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: Gianmaria Bruni, James Calado
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell

The UK arm of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing squad took its first class win in Japan, as Priaulx and Harry Tincknell came out on top in a tight battle with teammates Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke.

Running seconds apart for the majority of the distance, the contest was resolved in the #67 car's favour when Pla suffered a spin in the #66 at the end of the penultimate hour.

While admitting the Fuji layout helped Ford see off chief rivals Ferrari and Aston Martin, Priaulx hailed his team's flawless performance en route to victory.

"It was special, a brilliant weekend," the three-time WTCC champion told Motorsport.com.

"Pitstops were mega all day, I had some really strong stints in the middle which I think cemented the result, and Harry did a great job. 

"From the moment we rolled out the car was strong, I felt on Friday morning 'we're in with a chance here'.

"But it was a tough afternoon because #66 was on our tail for five of the six hours. We didn't make any mistakes, we kind of nailed it. Really happy."

Asked if the Fuji layout played into the hands of the Ford GT, Priaulx added: "Different circuits favour different cars, and here worked well for us. 

"We've had races this year where we've driven at 100 percent and come fifth, like Mexico and Austin. There was just no way we could win. 

"So you've got to look at it over the whole year, it was a good circuit for us. If we have a good Shanghai maybe it will close things up a little bit more for the championship."

Franchitti absent

The Fuji race was the first for the #67 crew as a two-driver team, as Ford took the decision to axe Marino Franchitti from its line-up for the final three rounds of the season.

In the preceding races, the #67 car had been the only one in the GTE-Pro class with three drivers, following Aston Martin's decision to switch to two-driver line-ups from the Nurburgring onwards.

Priaulx admitted that only having to share the car with Tincknell made life easier in Japan. "Obviously it's a shame for Marino, he's a lovely guy," said the Guernseyman.

"But it meant we had a better run at it, got more time in the car in free practice. It wasn't great [with three drivers].

"You're learning tracks, you're learning the car, so it wasn't ideal – and today proved that. 

"It's not the only reason why, but we had a lot more chance to do set-up work during free practice, more time for me and Harry in the car."

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