Devis claims the spoils in Masters Sports Car Legends race at Red Bull Ring
Marc Devis survived a late charge from the giant-slaying Julian Thomas & Calum Lockie Chevron B8 to win the Red Bull Ring’s one-hour Masters Sports Car Legends race in his Chevron B19.
Devis was handed the lead when shortly after the stops, the early front-running Lola T210 of Graham Adelman and Andy Willis was forced to retire with a broken gearbox. The Belgian had been kept honest by Julian Thomas during their first stints, and towards the end, Lockie found a way past the Belgian’s open-top Chevron. Devis was having none of that, though, and nicked back the spot two laps later to win by two seconds.
Andy Willis, two-timing in Stephan Joebstl’s Lola T212, still found the podium by finishing a distant third ahead of Alberto Zoli’s Chevron B16 and the Thomas Matzelberger/Ingo Strolz Lola T210. Mark Shaw’s pole-sitting McLaren M1A was out with a broken engine after four laps.
On a bright and sunny day in the Alps, the Masters Sports Car Legends thundered away with Shaw in the big Mac leading a fast-starting Julian Thomas in the tiny Chevron B8, followed by Marc Devis in the B19 also moving up at the cost of Andy Willis in Graham Adelman’s Lola T210 and Stephan Joebstl in the T212 that Willis would take over later in the race. The top five were followed by Alberto Zoli in the Chevron B16 and local hero Thomas Matzelberger in the T210 shared with Ingo Strolz.
On lap 2, Devis proved on a charge, taking second place, now four seconds adrift of Mark Shaw, with Willis also sneaking through to pinch third from Thomas. Then, his tyres now fully heated up, Willis nipped past the Belgian on lap 3 in the hope of catching the leader, but for the moment Shaw was lapping in the 1.40s while Willis’ best was a 1.41.
Soon these numbers would prove academic, though, as Shaw came trundling into the pits at the start of lap 5, his engine having expired terminally, leaving Willis to take over. Behind him, Devis and Thomas were having quite the tussle, and on lap 5, the B8 had retaken second from the B19, both now three seconds adrift from the leading T210. The Belgian was having none of that, though, and got the place back on the next lap.
Fifteen minutes in, the leaders finally started to settle in, Willis heading Devis by seven seconds, the Belgian still harried by Thomas, while Joebstl was stuck in fourth, half a minute adrift of the leading trio. Zoli was ten seconds behind the Austrian, whose countryman Matzelberger followed 21 seconds further down the road.
On lap 10, the spectators’ focus of attention was still on the battle for second, with Thomas not giving up and continuing to be the bigger Chevron’s thorn in its side, the gap now down to a mere tenth, as Willis slowly left the two behind, having opened up an advantage of nine seconds.
The pit window having opened after 25 minutes, Willis led Devis by 11 seconds, with Thomas having drifted away to a 1.2-second deficit to the Belgian. The leader was the first into the pits, though, as he had to be ready to take over from Joebstl later on into the pit window. Next to come in were Devis and Matzelberger, the latter handing the Austrian T210 over to Strolz, and indeed Joebstl, as Willis climbed on board of his second mount of the morning. In the second part of the ten-minute pit window, Thomas (switching places with Calum Lockie) and Zoli were the last of the leaders to do their mandatory stop.
It looked all happy and clean, but then on lap 19, Adelman was back in for a second stop for the car that had been in the lead for the best part of the first stint, the Lola T210 having lost fourth gear. On lap 20, the American was back in yet again, and all seemed lost.
This elevated Devis into the lead, followed six seconds later by Lockie, while Willis in the T212 started by Joebstl was third, but a massive 1 minute and 22 seconds behind. Willis was the fastest man in the top three but only by two to three seconds a lap. Zoli was a lapped fourth, with Strolz 23 seconds further adrift.
With fifteen more minutes to go, Devis looked in control, having increased his lead over Lockie to ten seconds, while Willis was unable to make any significant inroads to the top two. It wasn’t all over, though, as Devis on lap 26 began losing ground, suddenly lapping five seconds slower than his regular pace. Within two laps, Lockie was up with the Chevron B19, as Willis came within a minute of the leader.
And indeed, Lockie was up into the lead on lap 28, as nine minutes remained on the clock. Devis’ lap times were slightly improving again, though, the two now both lapping in the 1.44s and getting down to the 1.42s on lap 30, as the Belgian followed the B8 around by half a second. And, surprise, surprise, Devis popped up in the lead on lap 31, as now it was Lockie’s turn to drop the pace dramatically.
So it was Devis who brought the win home, with two seconds in hand on Lockie, as Willis took third 42 seconds down. Zoli and Strolz were a lapped fourth and fifth.
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