Werner braves the wet to win second Masters Racing Legends race at Spa
From third on the grid, Marco Werner mastered the treacherous conditions best to win a very wet second Masters Racing Legends bout at the Spa Six Hours, as his Lotus 87B passed early leader Michael Lyons in the Lotus 92 with three more laps remaining. The German then stretched out to a nine-second lead at the finish. Lyons, meanwhile, bagged his second post-82 class of the weekend.
“Much better weather!” Werner quipped. “I like it, and it shows that the engine was not the most important ingredient today. We found a lot of issues on the car overnight, and solved the gear shift problem, but we still had a few niggles. But I like the rain – those issues were less of a problem now.”
“He was fast, there’s life in the old dog yet!” Lyons said about being unable to hold off Werner. “I felt that I was faster in the first section, but in the second part of the lap he was really quick.”
Steve Hartley took third in his McLaren MP4/1 while reverse polesitter James Davison took home another pre-78 class win in Brad Hoyt’s Hill GH1. Steve Brooks (Lotus 91) was fifth ahead of Davison’s class rival Nick Padmore who was forced to retire his Lotus 77 on Saturday but fought his way up from the back of the grid to claim sixth overall on Sunday, catching and passing Patrick d’Aubréby (March 761) for second in the pre-78 class.
“I just wanted to get it home in one piece”, Hartley said. “The championship counts, and you wouldn’t want to bin it in these conditions.”
“I was hoping to find some pace to keep up with the ground-effect cars”, said poleman Davison, “but I couldn’t get it done. I gave it my best shot but after that I just brought it home.”
“My race was done at the start, really”, said Padmore, still ruing Saturday’s bad luck. “Yesterday’s issue was still there, but it wasn’t bothering me as much. It was very slippery out there, and I still had fun.”
Warren Briggs (McLaren M29) and Mark Hazell (Williams FW07B) also bounced back from trouble to lift eighth and ninth ahead of Mark Higson’s McLaren MP4/1B. In 13th overall, Arthur Bruckner’s Arrows A6 took second in the post-82 class.
At the end of a long and wet Spa Six Hours Sunday, the Masters Racing Legends field lined up with a reversed grid for Saturday’s top-five. This meant that James Davison was on pole in Brad Hoyt’s pre-78 Hill GH1 while Michael Lyons in the post-82 Lotus 82 joined him on the front row. Behind them were Marco Werner in the Lotus 87B and Steve Hartley in the McLaren MP4/1, but Saturday’s winner Christophe d’Ansembourg was missing, the Belgian electing not to run on the day.
The result was that Steve Brooks (Lotus 91) and Mark Higson (McLaren MP4/1B) shared the third row, with Patrick d’Aubréby (post-78 March 761) up next ahead of Paul Tattersall (Ensign N179) and Arthur Bruckner (Arrows A6). Warren Briggs (McLaren M29) and Nick Padmore (Lotus 77) were among the drivers hoping to make up places after their Saturday misfortunes.
The field was given three laps to get acquainted with the treacherous conditions before the safety car disappeared, allowing Davison to lead away from Lyons, Werner and Hartley. A brave Michael Lyons was soon past into first place, though, leaving Davison to deal with Werner, Hartley and Brooks, while Higson and d’Aubréby had already left a gap of eight seconds to Brooks. Werner was through into second place halfway into lap 4, while Hartley moved into third before the same lap was over.
Behind Brooks, d’Aubréby had snatched sixth from Higson, while Padmore and Briggs had used lap 4 to clear the train of Mark Hazell (Williams FW07B), Tattersall, Bruckner and Michel Baudoin in the March 821.
Going into lap 6, Lyons led Werner by a mere six tenths, while Hartley was now some eight seconds adrift. Davison and Brooks were in no man’s land in fourth and fifth while Padmore chased d’Aubréby for second place in the pre-78 class. Briggs trailed Padmore by 12 seconds but was himself ten seconds up on Hazell and Higson.
Five minutes remained when Lyons and Werner started with their seventh lap, but now the order was switched around – the German led the Briton. Werner immediately set about breaking the tow by posting one purple sector after the other to leave Lyons trailing by 4.3 seconds at the start of lap 8. Hartley was a safe third, and in fourth Davison looked on course for a second pre-78 class win, but behind Brooks, Padmore had taken d’Aubréby for sixth overall and second in class.
Two more laps remained, and Werner concluded them nine seconds ahead of Lyons, who claimed his second post-78 class win of the weekend. Behind Hartley in third, 23 seconds in arrears of the leader, Davison also doubled up in the pre-78 class, leading home Brooks and his class rival Nick Padmore, with d’Aubréby taking third in class while keeping Briggs and Hazell at bay for seventh overall. Higson completed the top ten ahead of Tattersall, Baudoin and Bruckner.
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