Spa Provides Extreme Test of Endurance for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team
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The #67 Ford GT fought hard throughout the race and took a triumphant second place at the chequered flag. The best result yet for the WEC Ford GTs was tempered by the fact that with just over one hour of the six-hour race remaining, the #66 Ford GT crashed heavily exiting Eau Rouge. German driver Stefan Mücke was behind the wheel and it was an anxious moment for the team before his voice came over the radio.
“Everything is okay,” said Mücke after having precautionary tests at a local hospital. “I feel okay and it is good to know we have a strong car. Thank you to the team for building me a safe car.”
The team will now take the car back to the UK for a full investigation whilst also continuing its preparations for Le Mans.
The sister #67 Ford GT had a very different race, finishing in second place and taking the best result yet for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing WEC team.
“The most important thing is that Stefan is okay,” said WEC Team Principal George Howard-Chapell. “Typically, he is more concerned with the car than himself. We need to look at the data to find out what happened but at the moment we suspect it was a puncture. On the flip side it is fabulous to get second place, which was a fairly unexpected result. It’s good that it has followed on from the victory for the U.S. team last week and a great result for the lead into the Le Mans 24 Hours.”
The race started well for the #66 Ford GT as Frenchman Olivier Pla had a strong opening stint, fighting his way through to third place by passing two Aston Martins. Billy Johnson was up next and he continued the good work before handing the car to Mücke.
The #67 Ford GT also had a strong start in the hands of Marino Franchitti but 40 minutes into the opening stint the Scotsman received a tap from behind that sent him into a spin and to the back of the GTE Pro field. He quickly recovered and completed his stint before Andy Priaulx jumped in for his run, which saw the #67 steadily rise up the order, taking fourth before Harry Tincknell took over. The young Briton had a great on track battle with Mücke before the accident happened and handed the car over to Franchitti in third place for the run to the flag.
Despite mounting pressure from a charging Aston Martin, Franchitti held on to third and then took second place when the #51 Ferrari ran in trouble.
“We had some great strategy calls from the pits today,” said Franchitti.
“We said we would be pleased to get a podium finish here so to take second place is great. That result was for the team who have worked so hard for these past few months.”
The next race for all four Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs is the Le Mans 24 Hours, which takes place on 18-19 June.
Ford GT Race Results
Car Number: Position in GTE Pro - Driver line-up
67: 2nd - Marino Franchitti / Andy Priaulx / Harry Tincknell
66: DNF - Stefan Mücke / Olivier Pla / Billy Johnson
Ford GT Qualifying Results
Car Number – Position in GTE Pro - Driver line-up
66: 4th - Stefan Mücke* / Olivier Pla* / Billy Johnson
67: 5th - Marino Franchitti* / Andy Priaulx* / Harry Tincknell