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Ford Dominates GTE-Pro at Fuji

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Dominates GTE-Pro class at Fuji…

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has dominated the GTE-Pro class in Sunday’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji, controlling the race from start to finish and claiming a 1-2 for the American manufacturer.

The No. 67 Ford GT of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell started the race second on the grid, the latter taking over the lead of the sister No. 66 entry in the hands of Olivier Pla at Turn 1.

From there on there was no stopping the Fords, edging away from the AF Corse Ferraris that were only able to lead the field as the mid-engined cars made its pitstops.

There was a small scare when Tincknell made small contact with Wolf Henzler’s No. 78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR right before the halfway mark, resulting in minor damage to the nose.

The class pole-sitting No. 66 Ford of Stefan Muecke and Olivier Pla quickly settled into second and never threatened the lead of their teammates.

Pla had a spin at Turn 3 right before his final stop but was able to continue without issues but with a bigger gap to the leaders, adding up to 15 seconds after six hours of racing.

It marked the first win for the Multimatic-run, UK-based CGR squad in WEC, having dominated the entire weekend by leading every session, including a sweep of the front row in qualifying.

AF Corse experienced a quiet race behind the Fords, taking third and fourth with the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado and No. 71 entry of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, respectively.

Championship leaders Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen completed the top-five in class.

Remarkably, all manufacturers in the GTE-Pro class finished in the same order as they qualified.

GTE-Am was dominated by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, virtually from start to finish.

They crossed the line with a one-lap advantage over the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of championship leaders Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas in second.

The No. 78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried, Wolf Henzler and Joël Camathias completed the podium in the GTE-Am class.

RESULTS: Six Hours of Fuji

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Sestom

    October 16, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Thank you BOP…

    Ford vs Ferrari = -20 kg / +4 liters (fuel) / +5.1mm (fuel restrictor diam.)

  2. michael

    October 16, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Always whiners about BOP when Ford wins, but when Ford gets hit with BOP its all good.

    • Random

      October 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      The lunatic fringe exists in all camps. Ford is no different, and to pretend otherwise is laughable.

  3. Jamie

    October 16, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Well done Ford, Tincknell has looked good this season, with Marino looking likely to go I can only assume he will be guaranteed the slot for next season.

    It is about time the Fords won tbh, as if they end the year trophyless aside from Le Mans on both sides of the Atlantic, it’ll make the BOP debacle look even worse.

  4. juneracer

    October 17, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Ford has an advantage on the Ferrari in WEC compared to IMSA. don’t understand why they don’t beat the Ferrari more consistently. team issues or are they playing the 2017 BoP game? will be interesting to see how the season plays out…

    • Andres

      October 17, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Remember that the WEC Ford team is not Ganassi team,which sucks in every aspect, is Riley-Multimatic crew renamed for Ganassi, and the USA Ford team is in fact the Ganassi team, that is more experienced and skilled, and this is the point in the performance gap between the two teams, with the USA team having won twho or three times in the IMSA championship

      • Gooner1

        October 17, 2016 at 10:55 pm

        Obviously you do not have all of your facts correct and do not know too much about the different series they race in…The US based team is made up from their winning DP team with a great deal of experience. The UK team is not a Multimatic crew renamed Ganassi. It is a completely new team made up of very experienced people who have come from winning teams. As far as winning races the way the championships are run is totally different. The BoPs is different and the racing is different. In IMSA you are able to regain a lot of time back and even get laps back under yellow flag periods, I WEC you are not, under yellow there is a speed limit so the gaps do not change. As for Lemans when both teams were there, all cars were competitive, and the US team happened to win it, the UK team set the fastest lap.

  5. WBrowning

    October 18, 2016 at 2:26 am

    It’s funny how when the Ferrari wins or the Aston Martin totally dominates for two races it’s crickets, when Ford wins their first WEC race it must be BoP. Fastest laps and qualifying times were about as close together as you can get non-spec cars. It was weird that for all but two of the cars, their fast laps happened on lap 4, 5, or 6.

    The Ford GTs had been seeing more than their fair share of incidents and mechanical issues, some their fault and some not. I’m glad to see they had some luck for a change and ran a clean mostly trouble free race.

    Next I wish I could have watched the entire race as we in the USA only got the last 3 hours and then on my service they listed the change from FS2 to FS1 wrong and I only got to see the entire televised program because I happened to be watching live instead of DVRing it like I had planned. I still don’t know how the Fords got so out of sync with the Ferraris and Astons, they were pitting 5 or 6 laps earlier than all the other cars in GTE Pro, what happened??? I wish they published a lap chart.

  6. DBR9

    October 18, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    This race was boring in GTE Pro. In fact, I hesitate to call it a race. Parade is more fitting. Congrats to Ford for the win. Hope next race the class isn’t so spread out.

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