Andy Priaulx will be heading to the Kingdom of Bahrain later this week, and will have very mixed emotions. He can’t wait to get back into the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, which has taken him and Harry Tincknell to victory in the previous two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Japan and China, but he will be sad as the 6 Hours of Bahrain is the final round in the 2016 championship.
This is another new track for the Guernsey driver, but so were Fuji and Shanghai and they presented him with no problems learning them. He is getting ready for the weekend in the best possible way, as he explained: “Bahrain is another new track for me, so I am going to do lots of work on the simulator, as I have done for the previous races. Without doubt our target is to win there and I can’t think of a better way of signing off this year than completing the hat trick. It has been a amazing year for me and I can’t thank the team enough. Also getting to know Harry well and working with him has been perfect – for me the dream team! As for the track itself, from what I have seen so far it looks like it will suit our car. With the success in Shanghai, which included pole position and the fastest lap that was a new lap record, we are really buoyed up for the task ahead of us.”
While Priaulx and Tincknell, who drive the number 67 Ford GT, are currently fifth in the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers, there is everything to play for in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro Teams, as Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK is just two points behind Aston Martin Racing in the title battle. “It would be great for the team to win it in its first year and, along with Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla our team mates in the number 66 car, we will be doing everything we can to win this,” he said.
The Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir has hosted 12 Grands Prix and is 5.412 kilometres long. The race will start just before dusk and finish in the dark and the temperatures could be in the mid twenties Celsius. As in this part of the world Sunday is a work day, the race is held on a Saturday and the first track action will be on Thursday, 17th November with Free Practice 1 from 15.00 to 16.30, while Free Practice 2 is later in the day from 19.30 to 21.00. On Friday Free Practice 3 is from 11.30 to 12.30 and Qualifying for the LMGTE cars is from 17.00 to 17.20. The six hour race on Saturday is from 16.00 to 22.00. All these times are local, which is three hours ahead of GMT.