Lotus racer Thornton earns great victory in Masters Historic Formula One race two
Greg Thornton took a fantastic win in his Lotus 91/5 during the second Masters Historic Formula One race of the weekend at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, seeing off a late charge from race one victor Martin O’Connell.
After taking the lead of the race on lap two at Druids, Thornton – who had started on the front row of the grid – stormed away from the chasing pack and crafted a lead of almost three seconds by lap five.
For 17 laps his win never looked in doubt, but after losing a full five seconds on the 18th and final tour the eventual winning margin was just 0.9 seconds from the Tyrrell 011B of O’Connell.
The action was fast and furious early on, with terrific overtaking largely courtesy of Thornton and O’Connell. Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 was third initially, before O’Connell sliced past at Graham Hill Bend with a great move on the opening lap.
O’Connell then moved into second at the same left-hander on lap two, but the leading Lotus of Thornton looked particularly strong and he started to build his advantage with every lap.
Hartley soon moved back into the top three and as the race entered its second half, he began to pile some serious pressure on O’Connell. By lap 16 the gap was down to only 0.3 seconds, but through backmarker traffic O’Connell was able to escape up the road.
At the chequered flag on lap 18, Hartley was around three seconds adrift in third with Steve Brooks’ Lotus 81 taking fourth position. Midway through the race Brooks was in sixth, but he took fifth on lap nine and then moved into fourth three laps later.
Race winner Thornton had the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m22.717 seconds, and also won the ‘Head’ class. Lukas Halusa in sixth overall won the ‘Fittipaldi’ class in his McLaren M23 and Ian Simmonds’ seventh placed Tyrrell 012 won ‘Lauda’.
Race two proved a frustrating one for Sky Sports F1 pundit and ex-Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert, with retirement on lap six for the Ensign N180B. Chris Perkins was the only other retiree in his Surtees TS14.
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