Werner steals win from Constable in second Masters Historic Formula One race at Jerez
Marco Werner won the second Masters Historic Formula One race at Jerez when right at the end he passed long-time race leader Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 to steal victory in his Lotus 81. Werner was given the opportunity when his teammate Nick Padmore in the pre-78 class-leading Lotus 77 was forced to retire from second place on lap 11. Until that, Constable successfully soaked up the pressure from Padmore.
“It was a crazy race!” said a smiling Werner. “A good race, though, and a lot of fun. If I had managed to pass Nick earlier I would have got Jamie sooner too, but Nick was giving me a hard time – that’s racing!”
“I had a great race with Nick”, Constable explained, “but I was suffering from a slow puncture, and couldn’t do much about Marco coming past…”
Taking the pre-78 class win in only his second Masters Historic Formula One race, Miles Griffiths shone to take third overall in his Fittipaldi F5A, moving up a place after Padmore’s demise. Christophe d’Ansembourg was the early leader in the Williams FW07C before dropping down the order and incurring a time penalty for exceeding track limits.
“I enjoyed that!” said Griffiths, beaming from ear to ear. “A lot more today than yesterday!”
This promoted the Lotus 91 pair of Katsu Kubota and Steve Brooks to fourth and fifth respectively, with Lukas Halusa taking sixth in his McLaren M23, the Austrian also bagging second place in the pre-78 class. Series returnee Max Smith-Hilliard completed the pre-78 podium with eighth overall in his Shadow DN5.
“I’m still rusty, very much so”, said Smith-Hilliard about his two-year absence. “I had three races today, and I’m steadily pulling it back together again. I lucked in with this one, I just followed the other cars home.”
From the reversed grid for the first five of race 1, d’Ansembourg led away from Padmore, Constable, Werner and Cantillon, with Kubota giving chase ahead of Griffiths, Halusa, Brooks and Briggs. Across the line for the first lap, the order remained unchanged but it soon turned to tears for Cantillon, as the Williams FW07C dropped down to tenth.
D’Ansembourg’s FW07C had broken away from Padmore by three seconds, the latter’s Lotus 77 feeling the heat of Constable’s Tyrrell 011 and Werner’s Lotus 91, with Griffiths up into fifth, having demoted Kubota. On lap 3, though, the Belgian in the lead missed a step, allowing Padmore, Constable and Werner through, but into lap 4 the FW07C was back up into third.
Further behind, Brooks in the second Lotus 91 had risen to seventh ahead of Halusa’s McLaren M23 but the Austrian soon gave way to Cantillon’s remount. On his return to Masters Historic Formula One, Max Smith-Hilliard now sat in tenth in his Shadow DN9, ahead of Marc Devis in the Surtees TS16, Warren Briggs’ McLaren M29 having dropped out.
On lap 5, Constable took over the helm from Padmore who now had to deal with Lotus stablemate Werner, as Griffiths climbed up to fourth and wasn’t far away either, the Fittipaldi F5A driver profiting from another slip-up from d’Ansembourg. In fact, Griffiths was now the fastest man on track, as Constable proved to brake free from Padmore and Werner. Meanwhile, Patrick d’Aubreby called it quits, the Frenchman giving up on the gearbox issues on his March 761.
Now getting a full taste of this new Masters Historic Formula One thing, Griffiths joined the top three to make it a leading quartet five seconds clear of d’Ansembourg. 13 seconds down on the leader, Kubota was sixth but was facing Cantillon’s challenge, and sure enough, the Irishman was passed on lap 8. Brooks fought Halusa over eighth overall, the latter still third in the pre-78 class, ahead of Smith-Hilliard and Devis.
With ten minutes still to go, things now truly began to heat up at the front, the first three separated by less than a second, with Griffiths slightly dropping away again. Constable continued to soak up the relentless pressure from the two Lotus cars, while further behind Cantillon began to close on teammate and fellow Williams driver d’Ansembourg.
Then suddenly, Padmore was out of the fight and into the pits on lap 11, and then Cantillon was in too, suffering from ignition issues. This left Werner with a clear view of Constable’s Tyrrell, with Griffiths five seconds behind and the new pre-78 class leader, and d’Ansembourg in fourth, ten seconds down on the front. As Constable and Werner crossed the line for the 12th time, the gap was down to 0.177s, with three minutes still to go…
On lap 13, it was done – Werner was past and into the lead. And that is where he would stay, as the safety-car board came out for the final couple of minutes, Bob Blain’s March 751 having spun in a dangerous place. Constable came home second, Griffiths in third while pocketing a pre-78 class win. D’Ansembourg salvaged fourth, ahead of Kubota, Brooks, Halusa and Smith-Hilliard, the latter two completing the post-78 podium. Marc Devis and Paul Tattersall’s Ensign N179 rounded out the top-ten. When the dust settled, though, d’Ansembourg incurred a 30-second time penalty for exceeding track limits on several occasions, demoting him to seventh overall.
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