Hart & Hart lead all-Dutch podium for Masters Gentlemen Drivers at Zandvoort
David & Olivier Hart (Bizzarini 5300 GT) survived a stop-and-go penalty and a fierce challenge by the Nigel Greensall/Mark Martin Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé to win the 90-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Zandvoort’s Historic Grand Prix event.
The opening half of the race saw Greensall open up a 30-second gap on Hart Sr but a slow pitstop while handing over to Martin as well as a puncture a few laps later thwarted the pair’s efforts. Hart Jr then broke Greensall’s earlier fastest lap time on his way to a dominant win. Not even a 3-second stop-and-go penalty for stopping short at their mandatory stop could harm the Dutch Bizzarrini’s claim to victory.
In second overall, Michiel van Duijvendijk and Pascal Pandelaar gave off a true giant-slaying performance in their C1-class-winning Porsche 904/6 GTS, Pandelaar sweeping ahead of Sander van Gils, whose Elan completed an all-Dutch podium. Van Gils grabbed CLP class honours ahead of the Ginetta G4R of David Methley and Ron Maydon that took fourth overall.
Marcus Jewell and Ben Clucas won the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car scrap held concurrently for 60 minutes of the race. Steve Soper’s challenge in a similar Lotus Cortina faded after 9 laps.
With Nigel Greensall starting the pole-sitting Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, the first few laps were all about Greensall trying to make a break from the Harts’ Bizza started by father David. Initially, Oliver Mathai ran third in the TVR Griffith but the German-run machine was hit by a double whammy – a 12.8-second time penalty for a jumped start soon became irrelevant when Mathai crawled into the pits with an apparent problem with the left front suspension.
This moved David Methley guesting in Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R up into third, chased by CLP class rival Sander van Gils in the Lotus Elan. Behind the two lightweight cars, three local cars had moved up the order quite quickly. The Fred van Maarschalkerwaart/Roeland Voerman Corvette – with Voerman at the wheel – was up into fifth, while in sixth was Michiel Campagne’s Corvette Grand Sport. The car had qualified third but was forced to start from the pits and was now quite literally thundering its way up. By lap 7, Campagne had stolen fifth from Voerman.
Seventh was Hans Hugenholtz in the Cobra shared with Peter van Hoepen, ahead of a triplet of E-types raced Belgian Laurent Jaspers, German/British pairing Nikolaus Ditting/Sam Hancock, with Ditting driving, and German duo Christian Schödel/Dirk Ebeling, with the former at the helm.
The C1-class Porsche 904/6 GTS that in the hands of Pascal Pandelaar had qualified a magical fourth overall was now in 11th, its gentleman driver Michiel van Duijvendijk doing the opening stint, while Marcus Jewell’s Lotus Cortina led the touring-car chase as Steve Soper’s example had pitted with an issue on lap 7 before retiring on lap 9. The Peter & Nathan Dod Griffith – Peter driving – was hot on the heels of Jewell’s Cortina.
Ten laps gone, Greensall’s lead on Hart Sr had increased to seven seconds, with Methley now half a minute down. Local man Van Gils was keeping Methley honest, the Elan seven more seconds in arrears of the Ginetta. In fifth, Campagne wasn’t closing on the leaders anymore while Voerman and Hugenholtz warred over sixth, the Cobra passing the Corvette on lap 11 – all watched closely by Jaspers who was a second down on the fighting Dutch pair.
It soon transpired that Greensall had been saving the best for the final 15 minutes of his opening stint. Having put down the hammer, he used the next five laps to put 13 more ticks between himself and the Dutch Bizzarrini – lapping in the 1.58 bracket as opposed to the 2.01 laps that David Hart was doing. Meanwhile, Methley was forced into an unscheduled pitstop on lap 15, handing third place and the CLP class lead to Van Gils. He had dropped to seventh when he rejoined. Similarly, Voerman’s Corvette lost ground to Jaspers and Van Duijvendijk and now ran in ninth, while in the touring cars running concurrently for an hour, Jewell had handed over to Ben Clucas.
As the pit window opened, Greensall’s gap to Hart had grown to half a minute, with Van Gils leading Campagne by seven seconds while himself over a minute in arrears of the Daytona Cobra in the lead. Hart Sr spared no time to come in and hand over to lightning-quick son Olivier, the same applying to Campagne coming in to swap places with Allard Kalff – it was all for nothing, though, as the Grand Sport soon died with battery problems.
On the next lap, most of the other cars were in, but Greensall used the relatively quiet track to set fastest lap of the race with a 1.57.9, all with the aim of getting as much space between his American machine and the Harts’ Italian car (but American-powered) before finally handing over to Mark Martin on lap 24. Their pitstop wasn’t going to plan, though, Martin in trouble with his HANS system and losing a lot of time in the pits and on his out lap.
The pit window now closed, Olivier Hart in the Bizza was immediately down into the 1.58s, as the young Dutchman set himself to the task of chasing Martin. Hart had soon caught up and swept past to take the lead on lap 26. Van Gils was third, 55 seconds down, but Pandelaar in the Porsche 904 was flying and now up into an amazing fourth overall. Ron Maydon was fifth in the Ginetta, running two seconds ahead of Jaspers in the E-type. Peter van Hoepen in the Cobra was seventh, while Ben Clucas’ Lotus Cortina in eighth was flagged off as the Pre-66 Touring Car winner.
However, frustratingly so for the DHG team running the Hart/Hart Bizza, their stop was deemed three seconds short – so suddenly the final half hour looked like having a race again. Ahead of his stop-and-go penalty, a frustrated Olivier Hart popped in fastest lap of the race with a 1.57.8 before coming in. But then the race was off again! As Hart went out, Martin came in with a puncture… Tyre change done, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé was down to sixth, behind Van Hoepen’s Cobra. Meanwhile, Jaspers was forced to retire his E-type.
Now over a minute in front, it was plain sailing for Hart Jr, but behind, Van Gils had steadily lost ground to Pandelaar who grabbed second on lap 35. Maydon was still in fourth but 36 seconds down on Van Gils and with almost a lap in hand on Van Hoepen, in what had become a battle of attrition, with now just ten cars still running.
Towards the end, Hart enjoyed himself by lowering the race’s best lap to 1.57.6, to finish 1 minute and 23 seconds ahead of Pandelaar, who in turn led Van Gils by 27 seconds to complete a podium fully consisting of local heroes. Van Duijvendijk/Pandelaar won their C1 class while Van Gils beat David Methey/Ron Maydon – in fourth overall – to CLP class honours. The Hugenholtz/Van Hoepen Cobra remained in fifth ahead of the Greensall/Martin Daytona Cobra. The Voerman/Van Maarschalkerwaart Corvette, the Dod & Dod Griffith, the Ditting/Hancock E-type and Louis Zurstrassen’s Elva Mk5 completed the finishers.
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