Stefan Mücke
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Pole and racing bad luck for Stefan Mücke in 6-Hours of Shanghai

• P7 in the LM GTE PRO class for the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK driver in fifth round of FIA World Endurance Championship • Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla secure their second pole of the season • Stefan: "We were hit by a Porsche in Turn 1 and spun, robbing us of any chance of victory"

After less than a month's break from racing, Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK driver, Stefan Mücke, went to China last weekend to contest the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Mücke and team-mate Olivier Pla were second in the championship as they headed to Shanghai.
Conditions for the race weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit were exactly as predicted by the weather forecast. When it rains, a finish up front is often a matter of luck, and that's how it was in the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Practically the whole of the race weekend was hit by rain with only one practice session and qualifying taking place in the dry, and it was then that the two Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK drivers were at their best.
While Mücke and his team-mate narrowly missed posting fastest time in third practice, they secured pole position in qualifying. Mücke booked the second-fastest time of anyone in the qualis, and Pla was only slightly slower. The aggregate of their hot times was enough to secure the top spot on the grid, giving them their second pole of the season.
Everything had gone according to plan for the Ford GT with start number 66 up until that point, but things were to change at the start of the six-hour race. Mücke's team-mate was rear-ended by a fellow competitor on the rain-affected track and spun. He lost a lot of ground as a result and dropped back way down the field.
The rest of the race was marked by stoppages and safety car periods. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK tried an alternative strategy with their #66 Ford GT in order to give themselves a chance of battling their way up through the field as the track dried out slightly. Mücke and Pla ultimately finished seventh in the LM GTE PRO class.
Mücke can now take a break from racing, as it will be March 13th before the Superseason enters its sixth and third-last round with the 1,000 miles of Sebring.
Four questions for Stefan Mücke
Congratulations, Stefan, on taking your second pole of the season!
Thanks! Qualifying went really well, which surprised us a bit. We're still not well placed in the Balance of Performance, so we never expected it. During the 20 minutes of qualifying, we noticed that the track was becoming much faster, so I went back out and posted the second-fastest lap in my group in the end, which was enough to secure pole position taken together with Olivier's time, which was terrific. At this point, I would like to say a big thank you to the team. They did everything dead right. Tyre pressures were spot-on and the way the crew managed our laps was just perfect, enabling us to secure vital points in the championship.
The race itself was a bit of a damp squib and the first two practice sessions earlier were hit by rain...
Yes, indeed! The weather forecast predicted a lot of rain for the Shanghai weekend. Friday was a wash out, but we had a bit of luck with the conditions on Saturday and were able to set strong times in the dry. Sunday was really bad. The race was stopped several times because of standing water on the track. Conditions were very chaotic, and we had some bad luck right at the start.
What happened?
Olivier took the first stint. He got a great start and was able to maintain his lead. However, he was hit by a Porsche in Turn 1 and spun, which was very annoying, because it robbed us of all chance of victory. We posted hardly any laps in the first three hours of the race which was continually interrupted due to standing water on the track. Things were better in the second half. However, the safety car again had to come out on track quite a number of times. The tarmac gradually dried out slightly. Given our position, we had nothing left to lose, so we took a few risks with strategy. Unfortunately, our gamble didn't pay off.
You've now got quite a long break ahead of you. What do you plan to do during this time?
Of course, as a racing driver, I cannot just put my feet up and do nothing. I will use the time to keep myself fit and get well prepared for the last three races. I'm really looking forward to Sebring. I've been there with the Ford GT before and did pretty well. Oli and I like the track which has been built on the site of a former airport. I'm really looking forward to the season kicking off again. 

Copy: Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK