Franchitti bags WEC Spa podium 08 | 05 | 2016

    BATHGATE’S MARINO FRANCHITTI warmed up for next month’s Le Mans 24-Hours by powering his Ford GT to second in the latest round of the World Endurance Championship, the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

    The 37-year-old Scot, partnered by fellow Brits Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, recovered from an early spin which put him to the back of the GTE Pro field, to bag the trio’s first WEC podium.

    “This has been a fantastic way to warm-up for the Le Mans 24-Hours,” a delighted Franchitti beamed. “We always knew Spa would be a severe endurance test, and that’s exactly the way the weekend evolved.

    “We had some great strategy calls from the pits today, and everybody pulled together to deliver this great result for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team.”

    Franchitti started the race in the #67 Ford GT, but 40 minutes into the stint he received a tap from behind which sent him spinning and to the back of the GTE Pro field.

    The Scot though quickly recovered and completed his stint before Priaulx jumped in for his run, eventually taking fourth before Tincknell took over. 

    Related: Scot Ryan Dalziel bags LMP podium at Spa WEC

    The 24-year-old from Exeter had a great on-track battle with Ford team-mate Stefan Mücke in the #66 Ford GT before the German crashed heavily exiting the high-speed exiting Eau Rouge, after suffering what appeared to be a puncture.

    Franchitti was charged with the final stint in the #67 car and, having rejoined in third, he fended off the fast-charging Aston Martin of fellow Scot, Kirkcaldy’s Jonny Adam.

    Both Scots were then elevated to second and third when the #51 Ferrari of Brit James Calado retired with engine problems nine minutes from the end of the race. The Scots finished behind the GTE Pro winning AF Corse Ferrari of Brit Sam Bird and Italian Davide Rigon.

    “We said we would be pleased to get a podium finish here so to take second place is great,” Franchitti, who was pleased to learn Mucke suffered no more than heavy bruising, despite the heavy crash, said.

    “That result was for the team who have worked so hard for these past few months. Now we look forward to Le Mans next month, and hopefully climbing a step further up the podium.”

    In LMP2, Airdrie’s Ryan Dalziel brought his Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-Nissan home in second place, missing out on victory by just five-seconds.

    Overall victory in LMP1 went to the #7 Audi of Brit Oliver Jarvis, partnered by Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval.

    Related: Franchitti 'living the dream' in WEC with Ford

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    Jim McGill

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