Tandy beats Lynn to victory in close-fought first Masters Endurance Legends race at Brands
Steve Tandy started from pole to win the first Masters Endurance Legends race at the Masters Historic Festival, but that wasn’t the full story to this 40-minute all-out sprint. Having lost the lead during a safety-car period that coincided with the mandatory pitstops, Tandy had to fight his way back past Shaun Lynn, his Lola-Judd B12/60 eventually beating the BR Engineering BR01 by seven tenths.
Behind the two main protagonists, a clever Mike Newton came up with third in the AER-engined MG-Lola EX257, as the former Le Mans veteran remained faultless against his early rivals Mark Higson in the ORECA-Nissan 03 and David Brise/Alan Purdrick in the Lola-Judd B09/80. Towards the end, a spin by Higson allowed Ron Maydon’s Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 into fourth overall.
Richard Meins (Aston Martin DBR9) finished a creditable seventh overall to take a commanding GT win ahead of Colin Sowter’s Ferrari 458 GT3. The Marcus Jewell/Ben Clucas challenge was blunted when the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR was forced to take a stop-and-go penalty for a jump start.
Tandy held on to the lead when the field was given the green, as Lynn and Higson stayed with the Lola initially. Two laps in, however, Tandy had built a two-second lead over Lynn who in turn had eased out a similar advantage to Higson. In fact, the third-placed ORECA was coming under increased pressure from Brise in the P2 Lola.
This soon turned into a four-car battle with Greg Thornton in the ORECA FLM09 LMPC car and Mike Newton in the MG-Lola. In two more laps, though, the battle somewhat evaporated, as Higson lost third to Thornton as well as Newton while Thornton was slow into the pits with an engine misfire. The ORECA LMPC rejoined two laps later but slowed again on its out lap to retire from the race.
Now in sixth, Cook in the Riley & Scott MkIIIC was keeping Ron Maydon in the P3 Ligier and Mike Furness in the Courage at bay, but not for long, as Maydon passed Cook for the place. Among the GTs, Richard Meins led imperiously in the Aston Martin, especially after Marcus Jewell was forced to serve a stop-and-go penalty for a jump start in his Porsche.
15 minutes into the race, Tandy led Lynn by some seven seconds, with Brise in third, 16 seconds down on the leader. The Lola B09/80 had opened up a 15-second gap on fourth-placed Newton who was still holding off Higson.
The pit window now open, Brise, Furness and Jewell were the first ones in, but 22 minutes into the race, Colin Paton had a violent off at Clearways, the crashed Mosler MT900R invoking a safety-car period. Lynn, Higson and Cook quickly followed in, but Tandy stayed out for another. Next time around, Tandy was joined in the pits by Maydon, Meins, Simon Watts in the Lola B2K/40 and Sowter in the Ferrari 458 GT3. On lap 15, Newton was the last man in, still under yellow.
12 minutes were left on the clock when the safety car peeled off to liberate the field, and Lynn was now leading Tandy, having stopped first. Because of all the pitstops, Tandy’s challenge was heightened by a couple of cars sandwiched in between himself and the BR01 in the lead. Two laps later, though, Tandy was with Lynn, and when Lynn got botched by a backmarker going into Paddock Hill Bend, Tandy took the outside line to reclaim the lead.
Going into lap 19, Tandy managed to put another backmarker between himself and his pursuer, while 34 seconds down on the lead fight, Newton had conquered third place from Higson who had become stuck behind the safety car to lose a full lap on the leader. Maydon, meanwhile, had pipped Alan Purdrick in the Lola started by Brise, the P3 Ligier now in fifth overall.
In the GT class, Meins was in a commanding lead in seventh overall, ahead of Cook, while Sowter had moved up to be second among the GTs. Hampered by its stop-and-go penalty, Ben Clucas in the Porsche started by Jewell was stuck in 12th, looking at the rear wings of the P2 prototypes of Watts and Furness.
Three minutes from the end, Higson dropped his Thiriet-liveried ORECA at the back of the circuit, and this allowed Maydon to move up another place. In front, Tandy looked to have it all under control, though, but on the final lap Lynn still closed up to seven tenths, the BR01 setting fastest lap of the race in the process. Newton was third in the last unlapped car ahead of Maydon, Higson and the Brise/Purdrick. Meins took GT honours from Sowter and Jewell/Clucas.
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