Marco Werner brushed off challenges from teammate Nick Padmore and Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C to win the second Masters Historic Formula One race at the Algarve Classic Festival. Werner’s Lotus 81 hit the front on lap 3, passing early leader Steve Brooks whose Lotus 91 was involved in a crash with Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 only moments later. Fortunately, both drivers were OK.
“Two more laps and he would have caught me”, said Werner about d’Ansembourg coming really close at the end. “He was really fast on the straight, so I’m happy with the result.”
The safety car stayed out for four laps in order for the marshals to retrieve the two cars, and at the restart Padmore initially put Werner under pressure before d’Ansembourg came to the fore to pass Padmore’s post-82 class-winning Lotus 92 and close the gap to Werner. The German held on for the win, though, leading a gaggle of five cars across the line that also included Katsu Kubota’s Lotus 91 and Mike Cantillon’s FW07C.
“I missed a gear over the back”, said Padmore about the moment he lost second place to the Belgian, “but he was faster anyway.”
“This was one of my best”, said a very happy d’Ansembourg. “The car went really well, and after the restart I gave everything I had. I took fastest lap, and I’m really happy with that.”
Marc Devis drove a strong race to take the pre-78 class win in his Surtees TS16, the Belgian pipping Warren Briggs’ McLaren M29 to sixth overall right at the end. In eighth overall, Niklas Halusa took a pre-78 podium on his Masters Historic Formula One debut weekend in the McLaren M23, leading home Mark Hazell’s Williams FW08 and Paul Tattersall’s Ensign N179.
“That was good!” said a delighted Devis. “I’m really, really satisfied – an unbelievable race.”
“My first weekend in the car, and my first time here!”, said Halusa about his rookie experience as a Formula One driver. “My neck hurts, I really didn’t expect that…”
Richard Hope encouragingly completed an entire weekend of racing in his Alfa Romeo 182 while in 12th overall Michel Baudoin’s Hesketh 308E took third in the pre-78 class.
After a lengthy delay in one of the previous races, the Masters Historic Formula One still got going sometime on the Sunday afternoon of the Algarve Classic Festival. Soon we had the sight of four JPS Lotus cars heading the field, Brooks from Kubota, Werner and Padmore, with Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C and Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 up next. Mike Cantillon was up into seventh in the second FW07C, having demoted Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29, with Mark Devis in the pre-78 Surtees TS16 and Mark Hazell in the post-82 Williams FW08 completing the top-ten.
On the next lap, the two German-run Lotuses passed Kubota for second and third while Brooks hung on to his lead – but for how long? At the start of lap 3, Werner grabbed the lead but soon, though, the safety car was out, with both Brooks’ Lotus 91 and Constable’s Tyrrell 011 missing from the field, the result of contact at the back of the circuit, Constable losing control under braking for the hairpin. As a result, the car was launched over the kerbs, with Brooks the innocent victim. Both were OK but very much out of the race.
As the remaining cars bunched up behind the safety car, Werner led Padmore, d’Ansembourg, Kubota, Cantillon, Briggs, Hazell, Devis, Niklas Halusa in the McLaren M23 and Paul Tattersall in the Ensign N179. Outside the top-ten, Michel Baudoin’s Hesketh 308E led Richard Hope in the Alfa-engined Alfa Romeo 182.
As it took no less than four laps to clear the two stricken cars, no more than seven minutes of racing remained. From the restart, Werner’s Lotus 81 was put under enormous pressure from teammate Padmore in the more recent post-82 Lotus 92, with d’Ansembourg keeping a close watch in third, ahead of Kubota, Cantillon and Briggs.
On lap 10, though, his tyres fully heated up again, Werner eased away to lead Padmore by seven tenths, with d’Ansembourg, Kubota and Cantillon eyeing up any mistake by the leaders. Ten seconds down, Briggs led a second group that consisted of Hazell, pre-78 class leader Devis and the Belgian’s class rival Niklas Halusa. Tattersall was a lonely ninth while Hope had cleared Baudoin for tenth.
On lap 11, Werner had pulled two seconds clear while Padmore felt the pressure from d’Ansembourg, Kubota and Cantillon, his three pursuers still in the same order. Further back, Devis and Halusa both got passed Hazell after the Williams driver tripped up.
On the penultimate lap, d’Ansembourg took his chance and moved up into second while producing the fastest lap of the race, thereby also narrowing the gap to Werner to nine tenths. But nothing changed on the final lap, Werner taking the win from d’Ansembourg, Padmore, Kubota and Cantillon. Devis pipped Briggs for sixth while claiming pre-78 class honours from Halusa and Baudoin further back. Hazell and Tattersall rounded out the top-ten, with Richard Hope completing a full weekend with the Alfa Romeo 182 in 11th.