Masters News

Sunday 07th May 2023

Brooks fends off Gläsel to double up on Hockenheim Masters Endurance Legends wins

Steve Brooks made it two from two at Hockenheim by claiming another Masters Endurance Legends win in his Peugeot 90X. Despite a fierce challenge from fellow Peugeot driver Stuart Wiltshire disappearing on the opening lap, as Wiltshire’s 90X spun on its own fluids, Brooks was pressured all race by local hero Christian Gläsel, who was on fire in his ex-Dyson Racing MG Lola EX257.

“It was good fun, Christian drove very well”, said Brooks. “I saw Stuart spin, but then he came along!”

After the lengthy safety-car period needed to retrieve Wiltshire’s stricken Peugeot, Gläsel quickly dealt with Marco Werner’s Lotus Lola B12/80 and Keith Frieser’s Zytek 09S to chase after Brooks in the lead. Gläsel got to within a second of the Peugeot and hounded Brooks in the twisty bits while the French diesel machine stretched its legs on the straights again, Brooks keeping four tenths in hand across the line.

“What can I say?” said Gläsel. “We didn’t really know where we were. We couldn’t keep up with the Peugeot on the straights, but the car was really good in the corners. It was a good fight with Steve.”

“It was quite OK”, Werner summarised. “We didn’t expect a podium, as we really don’t have any straightline speed against the Peugeot. So it’s a nice result, it’s good for team morale, as we weren’t so lucky with my Formula One car.”

Werner took P2 class honours ahead of Mike Newton’s MG Lola EX264 while the Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis hit back in P3 to make it one-all in their class fight with Ron Maydon’s similar Ligier JSP3. Nick Padmore brought home the GT class win in the Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 while Günther Alth’s Vantage GT3 created an Aston 1-2 by beating Jason Wright’s Ferrari 430 GT2 across the line.

“It was a bit lonely, I must say”, said Padmore. “In the beginning, I made the race for Ron but after that I just brought it home, really.”

“It was a tough race fighting the Ferrari”, said Alth, “they are similar cars on power, so it was very hard. We had a hard fight but it was fair.”

“It was more fun today!” said Wright, despite losing out to Alth this time. “The problem is staying out of the way of the fast cars, and that was less of an issue today.”

It was a warm but overcast Sunday morning when the Masters Endurance Legends cars lined up for their second bout of the Bosch Hockenheim Historic meeting, the pair of Peugeots again leading away the field, with Stuart Wiltshire in the second 90X example aiming to redress the balance with the previous day’s winner Steve Brooks. The Peugeots were nose-to-tail into the Spitzkehre for the first time, with Keith Frieser also having a cheeky look in his Zytek 09S. Four corners on, however, having only just passed Brooks for the lead, Wiltshire lost the rear exiting the Sachskurve, while Christian Gläsel in the ex-Weaver/Leitzinger MG Lola EX257 nicked the second position that Frieser had just inherited. In fact, moments before the safety car was called, Marco Werner in the Lotus Lola B12/80 also passed the Canadian.

With the back of Wiltshire’s Peugeot soon enveloped in smoke, it became obvious that he had tripped over his own oil – a fact later confirmed by Wiltshire, who had experienced a power loss as he entered the stadium section. Post-race inspection proved that the fuel rail had gone. So now, Brooks led Gläsel, Werner and Frieser, with Mike Newton up next in the MG Lola EX264, followed by the respective class leaders in P3 and GTs, Ron Maydon in the Ligier JSP3 and Nick Padmore in the V12 Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Maydon’s class rival Stephan Joebstl trailed the Aston, and was followed by Jason Wright’s Ferrari 430 GT2 and Günther Alth’s Vantage GT3.

Beached on the exit kerb and still smoking, the Peugeot took quite a while to recover, so it took right up until the pit window before the safety car returned to the pits. Werner and Frieser elected to pit immediately, followed by the rest of the field, but Brooks and Gläsel thundered on, followed by Newton. The German wasn’t letting go of the Peugeot, however, continuing to chase it around as the others rejoined the race. In fact, Gläsel’s first hot lap was quicker than Brooks’s, meaning that the ex-Dyson Racing machine was making this into a race. Meanwhile, the pair had dropped Newton by ten seconds.

On lap 9, Werner was also coming into play, now beating Gläsel’s time, but his Michelin now fully hotted up, Brooks slashed another couple of tenths off that to create some distance to Gläsel who responded by taking his mandatory stop, along with Newton. Next time around, the leader was in. As soon as he rejoined, it became obvious that Werner’s early stop had paid off: the Lotus Lola led from the Peugeot, with Frieser’s Zytek now ahead of Gläsel, while GT class leader Padmore had jumped Newton through his early stop.

It took Brooks less than a lap to return to the front, though, while Gläsel took over third when Frieser spun at the Spitzkehre while under pressure. As Brooks eeked away, the Peugeot left the two Germans to fight over second place. On lap 13, the P1 MG Lola outbraked the P2 Lotus Lola into the hairpin to resume hunting down the French diesel machine in the lead.

With ten minutes to go, Gläsel was now truly on it, lowering the fastest lap of the race to a 1.36 to begin to really push the leading Peugeot, which was only capable of making a break on the fast bits. The agile MG Lola, however, was quicker in and out of the stadium. Further back, behind Werner, Frieser and Newton, Andy Willis had forged his way through in the Ligier started by Joebstl to claim the P3 class lead that had been Maydon’s. The latter, meanwhile, resumed a fight with Padmore that had also raged in race 1. Behind them, Wright and Alth were split by less than a second, as they had been the day before.

Five minutes later, the tide had once more turned to Brooks, as the Peugeot driver lowered Gläsel’s previous mark by four tenths to open up a slightly safer 1.4-second lead over the German. Werner was five seconds down but safely in the P2 class lead, while Frieser had been dropped by 24 seconds. Next time around, however, the ebb and flow went Gläsel’s way, as the MG Lola got back to within six tenths of the Peugeot. This was far from over.

In the dying minutes, Gläsel gave it one more shot but Brooks kept his cool to win by four tenths. Werner was third, seven seconds down, followed by Frieser, Newton, Willis and Maydon, class wins going to Werner and Joebstl/Willis. In GTs, Padmore once again led home Wright and Alth, but this time Alth managed to turn it into a Vantage 1-2, the German in the final stages of the race pipping Wright to second place in class.



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