Tyrrell takes fourth Masters Racing Legends win as season closes at Portimão
The second Masters Racing Legends race turned into a sprint interrupted by a safety-car period, and it was new champion Ken Tyrrell who took the win after passing early leader Jamie Constable’s similar Tyrrell 011 to end the series in true champion style. In his Brabham BT49, Werner d’Ansembourg also starred by storming up to second from seventh on the grid, capitalising on a barnstormer of an opening lap in which the young Belgian took four cars.
“Couldn't have wished for anything better”, said Tyrrell. “Tough competition, Jamie put on a heck of a race. I don't think I would have ever gotten by him, not for the yellow. Then he got kind of left out on the restart and I got the jump. That was good. Then head down and try to stay in front of Werner.”
“After this morning, it couldn't have been harder than that”, said d’Ansembourg. “I was quite happy with me climbing back up the roster. That was great. I got very lucky with all the openings that were in front of me. I used to be quite hesitant with my overtaking but I just said, no more hesitating. Go for it when you see a gap and it'll pay off.”
“The first four laps were wonderful!” said Constable. “I knew I was going to get mugged down the straight. I was trying to work out, do I go early, do I go late? I went early but then the safety car hadn't gone quickly enough so I was going to run away from the safety car. Then I had to pull out. I was a sitting duck but still it was a fun race.”
Ending the season on a high, Marco Werner came through to win the pre-78 class by also vaulting Constable after the mid-race caution, the German’s Lotus 76 ending up in third overall. He was joined on the pre-78 podium by champion Nick Padmore (Lotus 77) and David Shaw (Williams FW06) in fifth and sixth.
“Absolutely perfect race in the dry” said Werner. “For that old lady, I never expected that,
so I'm really, really happy. It was fun. I mean, it's not a car to go in front, normally not for the first five.”
“I got stuck with Ayari and that was it”, said Padmore. “He's slow in a straight line, but mega on the brakes. But second, we'll take that.”
“I had the reverse grid on pole”, said Shaw. “So I was hoping to lead at least one lap, but I made a mistake. Tight left, turn 13, and then the two Tyrrells got past me, and then everybody just swam past. Anyway, and then I just tried to get in the groove and then the safety car... I got back on it again after the safety car, had a good couple of laps and then got in the groove and then the race was over! Most races when I finish I'm not ready to get back in, but today I could have done another 10 laps. It's such a great circuit.”
In seventh, Mark Hazell (Williams FW07B) led home Valerio Leone’s Arrows A6 and Patrick d’Aubreby’s Arrows A4 while Ewen Sergison did well to get his pre-72 class-winning Surtees TS9B into the overall top ten. Race 1 winner Soheil Ayari was in the mix as well, his Ligier JS21 running into the top five before it dropped out towards the end.
With the Algarve Classic Festival’s schedule running late on the back of a few earlier delays, the Masters Racing Legends field hurried to get on the grid for their second race of the day – and their final one of the season. This would be a 20-minute sprint affair in order to allow the programme to finish before the Portimão track’s curfew. 20 cars of the 23 originally entered headed out for the start, with a reversed grid for the first eight in the morning race. This meant that David Shaw led away in the Williams FW06, followed by Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29, the Tyrrell 011s of Jamie Constable and Ken Tyrrell, the Lotuses of Marco Werner and Nick Padmore, Werner d’Ansembourg in the Brabham BT49 and race 1 winner Soheil Ayari in the Ligier JS21.
Soon, though, the order was shaken up on the opening lap, with both Tyrrells leading d’Ansembourg who truly had the bit between his teeth, taking four places in a single tour. Shaw was fourth ahead of Marco Werner, Briggs and Padmore, with Ayari still in eighth. Max Werner’s Hesketh 308C was ninth, leading Mark Hazell’s Williams FW07B, Valerio Leone in the Arrows A6, Yutaka Toriba in the Williams FW05 and Patrick d’Aubreby in the Arrows A4. Ewen Sergison, meanwhile, had hauled his pre-72 Surtees TS9B up into 14th overall ahead Guillaume Roman’s Ensign N175 and Marco Bianchini’s Shadow DN8.
Three laps into the race, Constable continued to lead Tyrrell and, d’Ansembourg while Werner (Marco), Ayari and Padmore had found a way past Shaw who now had to defend from Hazell and class rival Werner (Max). Further back, Briggs looked out of the game, as his McLaren trundled into the pits, the same applying to Geoffroy Rivet’s Trojan T103 on the opening lap, the Trojan having hurt its nose against Toriba’s Williams. Shortly after, the safety car was out, as Bianchini had found the gravel trap in turn 2. This allowed Briggs to go out again with a fresh spark box and catch up at the back of the safety-car crocodile, but on lap 6, still behind the safety car, the Kiwi had to retire the M29 after all.
Some four minutes remained when the green flag was waved, and it would be a sprint to the chequered flag. At the restart, Tyrrell got the drop on Constable to take the lead, with d’Ansembourg following the American through into second place as the first lap was completed. Marco Werner then pounced on the next lap to demote Constable to fourth, with Ayari also giving chase, but Constable managed to hang on into lap 11, his tyres now properly warmed up. Then the Frenchman’s Ligier was suddenly gone, the morning’s race winner dropping out from fifth.
At the front, Tyrrell clocked the fastest lap of the race to put nine tenths between himself and his Belgian pursuer, and going into the final lap, added three more tenths to take his fourth win of the season – in the process taking the championship in style. In third overall, Marco Werner won the pre-78 class, with Padmore and Shaw completing that particular podium as they followed home Constable in fifth and sixth overall. Hazell and Leone were next up, ahead of d’Aubreby, while Sergison starred by making it into the overall top ten in his pre-72 car.
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