Autódromo Internacional Algarve, Portugal

29 – 31 October 2021

Werner, Padmore, Minshaw and Macedo Silva bag the spoils in the Algarve

The sun may have been lacking during our European season-closer in the south of Portugal, but the Algarve Classic Festival certainly wasn’t lacking in atmosphere and old-fashioned Masters camaraderie. In often challenging conditions, teams and drivers helped each other out as best as they could, with lots of happy faces on the podium. Marco Werner and Nick Padmore both took home three wins, while Jon Minshaw and local hero Pedro Macedo Silva took one victory each.


Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Werner/Padmore come from the back to triumph in first Masters Endurance Legends race at Portimão

Marco Werner and Nick Padmore came through to take the spoils in a wet first Masters Endurance Legends race at the Algarve Classic Festival, as their Lola-Lotus B12/80 soon hit the front during a storming opening stint by Werner. Returning in second place because of the longer pitstop mandated by the pair’s elite-driver status, Padmore had to take the fight to Xavier Micheron’s Riley & Scott-Oldsmobile MkIIIC, the Frenchman having shone in the first part of the race by charging all the way up to second.

“The start was important”, said Werner about his efforts to make an early break. “We knew we had to counter our pitstop penalty. But the car worked perfectly, so here we are!”

“Marco basically built up a good lead”, said Padmore. “And I’m simply still learning and learning in this car. But Britec did a mega job on the car, so easy as that!”

Micheron’s surprise win on the slippery track wasn’t to be, though, as the Riley & Scott spun while attempting to clear multiple backmarkers in one go. This allowed Padmore through to take a comfortable victory behind the safety car that was called in the late stages after Jamie Constable lost control of his Pescarolo-Judd 01. Following his spin, Micheron had dropped back between Constable and Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2, but fought back to reclaim second place from Constable whose own spin allowed d’Ansembourg to claim the final spot on the podium.

“I was passing three backmarkers”, Micheron explained. “There was so much spray, I couldn’t see anything and missed my braking point…”

“I’m quite happy”, said d’Ansembourg. “The rain is quite tricky with this car, as I found out at Spa, but we changed the setup and it was going fine here. I was really surprised by Xavier’s speed in the rain! I had a good fight with Jamie but then he spun – it was all about making no mistakes, and I was the one that didn’t make them.”

Keith Frieser was a lonely fourth in his Zytek 09S, followed home by Mike Newton’s MG Lola-AER EX257, the P3-class-winning Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 of Craig Davies and Ron Maydon, and Richard Meins, the latter’s Aston Martin DBR9 taking the GT category’s win from Jason Wright in the Ferrari 458 GT3.

“I’ve only raced at Brands with this car this year”, said Meins. “But I know the track, I raced here in LMP3 with United Autosports a few years ago, even though you can’t compare this car with an LMP3 – I love this place, it’s very technical, very physical.”

On a very wet Algarve track, the field was sent on its way following a safety-car start two laps into the race. Immediately, Constable’s Pescarolo-Judd 01 broke away but behind him Xavier Micheron made up two places in his Riley & Scott-Oldsmobile MkIIIC to lead Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2, while Keith Frieser dropped to fourth in the Zytek 09S. In fifth, Marco Werner had taken six places already, having started the Lola-Lotus B12/80 from 11th after its qualifying mishap.

The next time around, it was all change again, as an unstoppable Micheron had taken the lead from d’Ansembourg, Constable, Werner and Frieser, with Craig Davies moving up to sixth in the Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 and James Hagan snatching seventh in the ORECA-GM FLM09, both at the detriment of Mark Higson’s ORECA-Nissan 03. Mike Newton had dropped to ninth in the MG Lola-AER EX257 while Richard Meins in the Aston Martin DBR9 led the GT category from Jason Wright’s Ferrari 458 GT3.

On lap 5, though, Werner had demoted Constable, then d’Ansembourg and then Micheron to lead by 0.8 seconds from the Frenchman. The first four were still separated by less than four seconds but Frieser had been dropped by the lead group to the tune of 17 seconds. In fact, Hagan and Davies – now having switched places – were chasing the Canadian hard. At the front, the small margins began evaporating soon, however, as Werner broke free from Micheron by four seconds, with d’Ansembourg trailing by another tick and Constable two more seconds behind the Belgian.

As the pit window opened, Werner led Micheron by close to seven seconds, d’Ansembourg by nine and Constable by 12. In the GT class, Meins held an eight-second advantage on Wright. On lap 8, Constable’s Pesca was the first to pit, as Werner and Micheron kept on banging in the 1.57 laps on what was still a very wet track – even though the rain had abated. Next time around, Werner lowered the mark to 1.55, easing away two more seconds from Micheron in the knowledge that he was forced to do a longer mandatory stop before co-driver Nick Padmore would be sent out.

On lap 9, d’Ansembourg was the next of the frontrunners to pit, and he was followed in by Newton, Higson, Meins and Wright. On lap 10, while Werner carried on for one more lap, Micheron, Frieser, Davies (handing over to Ron Maydon), Hagan (handing over to Chris Atkinson) and Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75 were in.

On lap 12, when the pitstop smoke had cleared, Micheron led Padmore by six seconds, followed by Constable and d’Ansembourg contesting third place three more seconds down the road. Frieser was a lonely fifth, 40 seconds away from the leader, with Newton having grabbed sixth from Maydon. Meins had moved up into eighth as the leading GT car, while Furness was ninth and Wright leading Atkinson and Higson in tenth.

With a fresh drizzle arriving, lap times were going up again, but for the moment Micheron remained in charge, equalling Padmore’s lap times while increasing his lead over the two Gulf-liveried cars in third and fourth. On lap 15, though, the Frenchman spun away his lead to let Padmore through and slotting in between Constable and d’Ansembourg. Further back, Furness spun and dropped to last.

Padmore now fully in control, he brought home the overall and P2-class win for himself and Marco Werner, while Micheron fought back to reclaim second from Constable. Even worse for the latter, Constable spun his Pescarolo at the start of lap 17 while blocking the track as a result, leaving the race to finish under the safety car. D’Ansembourg had dropped away from Constable in the latter stages but now inherited third ahead of Frieser, Newton, Maydon, and Richard Meins in the winning GT car. Higson, Atkinson and Wright rounded out the top-ten.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Werner/Padmore double up in Masters Endurance Legends at Portimão

Marco Werner and Nick Padmore took a lights-to-flag victory to double up in the two Masters Endurance Legends races at the Algarve Classic Festival. Overcoming their elite-driver pitstop penalty despite a fierce challenge from Xavier Micheron in the Riley & Scott-Oldsmobile MkIIIC, Werner handed Padmore a Lola-Lotus B12/80 that was still in the lead when it returned to the track after its mandatory stop. Padmore’s job was made easier when the Frenchman sadly threw away second place with a spin.

“Yeah, it was close with Xavier”, said Werner while awaiting reception of the winners’ trophies. “In the beginning it was just 1.9 seconds, and we feared that he was going to catch us with his straightline speed. But then he spun. It’s a shame, it would have been nice to have him on the podium here with us.”

“What a great teammate, he’d done all the work and gave me the lead”, said an elated Padmore. “And what a fantastic car. I was still learning, it’s completely different to anything I’ve driven. I want to learn properly in a private test…”

Micheron’s demise meant second and third for Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 and Keith Frieser’s Zytek 09S, the two warring over positions after the pitstops before the Belgian broke free to lead the Canadian home by ten seconds, albeit one minute and three seconds behind the winning Werner/Padmore car.

“I was struggling because my wet tyres were already old”, said d’Ansembourg. “With the pitstops I lost a place to Keith, so I had to overtake him again. And then Xavier went out, so that helped of course.”

“It was very, very slippery”, said Frieser. “I’ve not much experience in the rain with this car, but I pushed very hard. I had great in and out laps for the pitstop, so I passed Christophe, but couldn’t hold him. Survival was the name of the game today.”

Coming from the back, Jamie Constable claimed a lonely fourth in his Pescarolo-Judd 01, ahead of Mike Newton in the MG Lola-AER EX257, and the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon pairing in the Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15. In seventh overall, Jason Wright took the GT class win in his Ferrari 458 GT3.

“It was a good drive, I really enjoyed myself”, said Wright. “The car was so nice to drive. It was just too bad that [class rival] Richard [Meins] was knocked out, I would have liked to fight him.”

On a track still wet from early-morning showers, a safety-car start was the safest choice, so the field received the green flag after two exploratory laps on an Autodromo do Algarve that remained decidedly damp despite the sun’s arrival for the remainder of the day. Starting in the finishing order of race 1 meant that Marco Werner flew off in the lead, his Lola-Lotus B12/80 breaking free from Xavier Micheron’s Riley & Scott-Oldsmobile MkIIIC by three seconds and from Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 by six seconds. Frieser’s Zytek 09S and Mike Newton’s MG Lola-AER EX257 stayed put but in sixth Jamie Constable’s Pescarolo-Judd 01 had scythed through the field from its lowly starting position, the Pesca having spun out the day before.

Behind, Davies’ Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 and Meins’ Aston Martin DBR9 had had minor contact, causing the GT1 car to drop away, with Jason Wright’s Ferrari 458 GT3 taking over the mantle as the GT class leader, in eighth overall, still ahead of Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75 and Chris Atkinson in the ORECA-GM FLM09.

On lap 5, Werner’s lead over Micheron had increased to eight seconds, with d’Ansembourg a further eight ticks in arrears. Frieser was following the Belgian closely while Constable had jumped Newton for fifth but was still 30 seconds behind the leader. At the back, Mark Higson’s ORECA-Nissan 03 had overtaken Atkinson to get into the top-ten.

The pit window approaching, Werner continued to pull away, leading Micheron by ten seconds on lap 6. D’Ansembourg and Frieser followed at 22 and 25 seconds respectively while Constable still had 13 seconds to bridge to the pair. Meanwhile, Davies had passed Newton for sixth but it proved shortlived, as he spun to recover in eighth, taking up his place behind Wright in the lead GT car.

Two laps later still none of the cars had come in for their mandatory stops, Werner using his track time to leave Micheron trailing by 14 seconds on lap 8. Then Constable was the first to blink, as Werner, Micheron and d’Ansembourg continued for yet another lap, the German now 17 seconds clear of his French rival. While reporting brake issues, Higson was in, though, and so were Frieser, Newton, Wright and Atkinson, the latter handing over to James Hagan. Micheron came in on lap 10, followed by Davies who would swap places with Ron Maydon. On lap 11, Werner took the final opportunity, as did d’Ansembourg and Meins.

When the dust had settled, it turned out that Werner had done enough to negate his car’s elite-driver pitstop penalty, leaving teammate Padmore in a 1.5-second lead over Micheron. Frieser, however, had pipped d’Ansembourg at the stops, and led the Belgian by a second. Constable was a distant fifth, trailing the leader by well over a minute, with Newton sixth, Wright seventh, and Maydon in eighth. Furness and Meins completed the top-ten.

A subsequent slow lap by Micheron, possibly caused by an error, made Padmore’s work a lot easier, the Briton suddenly having nine seconds in hand on the Frenchman, while with less than ten minutes remaining on the clock, Frieser continued to keep d’Ansembourg at bay. On lap 14, though, the Belgian had passed the Canadian to reclaim third before easing away from the Zytek.

Now more familiar with the car, Padmore stormed off into an unassailable lead, further helped by Micheron spinning out at turn 9 to leave d’Ansembourg and Frieser into second and third. In the end, Padmore took the chequered flag by well over a minute from d’Ansembourg, with Frieser a further ten seconds behind. Constable claimed a lonely fourth ahead of Newton, who took second place in the P2 class, with Maydon in sixth (and the winner of the P3 class), and Wright in the winning GT car in seventh. Rounding out the top-ten were Furness, Hagan and Meins.

Masters Gentlemen Drivers & Pre66 Touring Cars
Minshaw takes commanding Masters Gentlemen Drivers win at Portimão

John Minshaw virtually led from start to finish in a Masters Gentlemen Drivers race that was redflagged after 78 of the 90 minutes were completed, as darkness fell over the Autodromo do Algarve. From second on the grid, Minshaw’s Jaguar E-type grabbed the initiative right at the start, and had well over a minute in hand once Lee Mowle handed over to Phil Keen in the polesitting E-type. Keen cut Minshaw’s lead to less than a minute but wouldn’t have caught his former team mate even if the race had run the full 90 minutes.

“It was alright, I’ll take that”, said Minshaw about leading from start to finish. “It was hard work, though. At one point, the track was flooded. It was very, very wet. Worried about Phil catching me? I know he’s a superstar but even he couldn’t make up a minute.”

“Jon was driving very well”, said Keen. “Lee did a good job and improved the whole weekend, and Classic Team Lotus did a good job too preparing the car. It was fun!”

“Exactly that!”, Mowle agreed.

Winning the C2 class, Mark Holme and Jeremy Welch took a stunning third overall in their Austin Healey 3000, Holme in the opening stint having fought Billy Bellinger in the rivaling Morgan Plus 4 Supersport that Simon Orebi Gann would finish sixth. Coming back to fourth overall after a delay at the stops, Andrew Haddon and Andy Wolfe still took CLP class honours in their Lotus Elan while Andrew Smith and Richard Hywel Evans took fifth in their AC Cobra, Smith having run second to Minshaw during the first half of the race before being passed by Haddon.

“That was pretty good for a Healey, wasn’t it?” said Welch, while Holme had enjoyed his fight with Bellinger during the opening stint. “Yeah, that was good. We got away well, then both got stuck behind the Jaguar [of Lee Mowle], and it was nip and tuck between us before he got away while passing the backmarkers.”

“We had a longer pitstop”, said Wolfe, “so I had to play catch-up. They wouldn’t let us out without fixing the lights so the team had to look for the broken fuse!”

Next up were Niklas & Lukas Halusa in the Ferrari 250 GT ‘Breadvan’ and the John Spiers/Nigel Greensall TVR Griffith, with the Simon Evans/James Littlejohn Elan taking second in CLP on their way to ninth overall. Maurizio Bianco was tenth in his E-type, ahead of the third-placed CLP Elan of Graham Wilson/David Pittard, while Chris Clarkson and David Smithies ended up 13th overall to take third in C2. Local duo João Carnas/Francisco da Carneiro took C1 class honours in their Porsche 911 while Louis Zurstrassen/Guillaume Peeters cornered the A class in their Lotus XI.

Meanwhile, Geoff & Alan Letts proved triumphant in the concurrent 60-minute Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars race, their Lotus Cortina keeping well clear of Rick Carlino’s Mini.

With a delay of half an hour, the field finally received the green flag for what was now going to be race into the night. On the first lap, the order quickly reset itself, with the faster drivers on the opening stint working their way up the field. This meant that Minshaw led in the E-type, from Andrew Smith in the Cobra, Mark Martin in the Cobra Daytona Coupé and Andrew Haddon in the Elan, with the polesitting E-type of Lee Mowle dropping back to fifth. Mark Holme was sixth in the Austin Healey 3000, closely followed by C2-class rival Billy Bellinger, with John Spiers in eighth ahead of Niklas Halusa in the ‘Breadvan’ and Simon Evans in another Elan.

On the next tour, Haddon in the top CLP-class car was up into third, at the cost of former teammate Martin, as the rest of the 31-car field settled down for the 90-minute grind in the wet. In the A class, Guy Peeters in the Lotus XV grabbed the early initiative in 12th overall while in the C1 class, Karl-Günter Diederichs in the Porsche 904 GTS still led, having started from the class pole. Geoff Letts consummately led the concurrent Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race, his Cortina now 16th overall.

At the front, Minshaw had opened up a five-second gap on Smith who in turn was chased by Haddon. Martin followed three seconds later, with Mowle seven more seconds adrift. Meanwhile, Bellinger had passed Holme for sixth overall and the C2 class lead, with Spiers, Evans and Halusa (N.) still leading Maurizio Bianco’s E-type in 11th overall. Soon, though, Martin was into the pits with his Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, handing fourth and fifth to Bellinger and Holme who both had jumped Mowle. Further back, Peter Thompson had moved his Cobra into the top-ten.

20 minutes gone, and Minshaw’s lead had increased to 14 seconds, with Haddon still harrying Smith over second place but under threat of a black flag for failing to turn his headlights on – on lap 8, though, Haddon was up into second. Half a minute away, Bellinger and Holme put their nimble C2 mounts to good use while Mowle was in no man’s land ahead of Spiers, Halusa (another one racing without lights), Thompson and Guy Peeters in the leading A-class Lotus. Mark Martin, who had briefly returned in tenth place after his unscheduled stop was soon back in for a second time to retire with a split oil cooler. Moments after, Peeters was in as well, with a flat battery, handing tenth overall to Nathan Dod in the TVR Griffith. Meanwhile, there were no changes in C1, Diederichs still leading, as was Geoff Letts in the touring car race.

As we approached the half-hour mark, Minshaw’s lead had grown into a comfortable 27 seconds, while Haddon still had Smith chasing him. Still punching well above their weight, Bellinger in fourth and Holme in fifth were separated by five seconds as they trailed the leader by 45 and 50 seconds respectively. Mowle in sixth was now over a minute down while Spiers and Halusa trailed by nearly two minutes. In ninth, Thompson was the first man lapped. Further back, Geoff Letts came in with the Cortina – the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car pit window now open – and rejoined without relinquishing the touring-car lead to Rick Carlino’s Mini. At the same time, Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R came in for an unplanned stop to rejoin in 16th overall.

As the pit window approached, the solo-driving Minshaw led Haddon (who was going to be relieved by Andy Wolfe) by 26 seconds, the former having lost a bit of ground, while Smith would soon be handing over to Richard Hywel Evans. In C2, the pendulum could well swing with Bellinger making way for Simon Orebi Gann while Jeremy Welch would take over Holme’s seat. Lee Mowle was about to hand over to his trump card Phil Keen while in eighth, Nigel Greensall was waiting to take over from Spiers. Further back, Bianco’s E-type had entered the top-ten at the cost of Nathan Dod’s Griffith.

Simon Evans was the first to pit from 14th overall to hand over to James Littlejohn, and was soon followed by the C1-class-leading Porsche of Diederichs who gave the wheel to Thomas Henkel. Halusa (N.) and Spiers followed suit, changing places with Halusa (L.) and Greensall respectively, while next up were Haddon, Bellinger, Nathan Dod (handing over to Peter Dod) and Peter Thompson (handing over to Charles Allison). Then Mowle and Bianco came in, but Minshaw, Smith and Holme waited until the last opportunity – which was lap 18. Meanwhile, Tom Harris retired his E-type from 21st, being quoted as having had a lovely time but having had enough.

After all the stops had panned out, Minshaw was still leading the race, now a minute and ten seconds ahead of Hywel Evans, and 1.19 away from Welch. In fourth already, however, Phil Keen was setting miracle lap times and poised to clear both Hywel Evans and Welch. Orebi Gann was fifth ahead of Wolfe who was setting faster times, with Lukas Halusa seventh and chased by Greensall. The Haddon/Wolfe Elan had lost time at the stops, as its lack of lights was due to a broken fuse, which the team had to find and replace before the car would be allowed back on the track.

Bianco was ninth, but Littlejohn was another man flying, his Elan having just passed Allison for tenth overall. In 12th, the Chris Clarkson/David Smithies Austin Healey 3000 was third in C2, while behind Haddon and Littlejohn, the Chris Atkinson/Steve Jones Elan had moved into third in the CLP class, Jones now driving. The leading touring car was in 14th and still pedalled by a Letts – now it was Alan at the wheel. At the back, the leading C1 car had broken its ignition, Henkel offering the class lead to the local duo of João Carnas/Francisco Sa Carneiro in the Porsche 911.

With half an hour still to run, it was now a question whether Minshaw would be able to stop the arrival of his former teammate, who was now in second place and catching the leader by four seconds a lap, but still a minute and 16 seconds behind. Welch was occupying a stunning third overall in the leading C2 car, while Hywel Evans in fourth was caught by Wolfe, now back up to fifth at Orebi Gann’s detriment. Such was the leaders’ pace that all cars had been lapped up to the Morgan. In seventh, Halusa (L.) was flying too, the ‘Breadvan’ closing rapidly on Orebi Gann while moving away from Greensall in eighth. In the meantime, Littlejohn had jumped Bianco for ninth.

The one-hour mark was also the moment that the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race was flagged off, the Letts’ Cortina prevailing over Rick Carlino’s Mini. At the same time, Henkel was back out, the 904’s ignition apparently fixed but a lap down on the Portuguese 911. Soon it was back in, though, now with a gearbox issue. In the midfield, David Pittard – having taken over Graham Wilson’s Elan – had passed Steve Jones for third in CLP.

On lap 26, with 18 minutes remaining on the clock, Keen broke the one-minute barrier in his disadvantage to Minshaw, while Welch – himself 45 seconds down the road on Keen – held a safe minute in hand in Wolfe who had now passed Hywel Evans for fourth. Orebi Gann was about to be usurped by Halusa while Greensall had found some more pace to close on the both of them, eight more ticks in arrears. Littlejohn and Bianco continued to round out the top-ten but Pittard in 11th was looking to wipe away the 18-second gap between himself and the Italian.

With twelve minutes remaining on the clock, the red flag came out to finish the race, visibility having become too much of an issue. This meant that Minshaw won the race from lights to flag, ahead of Mowle/Keen, the C2-class-winning pair of Holme/Welch and the CLP class-winning duo of Haddon/Wolfe. Smith/Hywel Evans took fifth ahead of Halusa/Halusa and Spiers/Greensall, the Breadvan and the Griffith having cleared the Bellinger/Orebi Gann Morgan at the last moment. Evans/Littlejohn and Bianco completed the top-ten.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 1
Padmore returns to glory in first Masters Historic Formula One race at Portimão

Former Masters Historic Formula One champion Nick Padmore returned to glory by conquering the rain and his rivals in the first Masters Historic Formula One race at the Algarve Classic Festival. In his post 82-class Lotus 92, Padmore surged to the front to lead after six laps and never looked back. It was Padmore’s first overall win in the series for more than two years.

“I heard my dad saying ‘Karting lines, karting lines!’”, said a happy Padmore. “He’s not a bad coach, is he? It was so slippery. I had a massive vibration from lap 3 and I was going to come in but then I thought, if the wheel goes off it goes off…”

As the first of the ground-effect cars, Jamie Constable (Tyrrell 011) came through to pip Marco Werner’s Lotus 81 to second right at the end while in fourth overall Max Smith-Hilliard surged past a gaggle of newer cars to take a dominant pre-78 class win in his Shadow DN5.

“That’s always good, it’s like a trump card!” said Constable about beating a pro. “We found the right setup with the car, and I loved driving it in the wet.”

“I’m not so happy”, said a despondent Werner. “This is my weather, normally. But we had a different set of tyres after we destroyed our rain set in yesterday’s qualifying. So I had to use an old set, three years old, and I had zero grip…”

“I tried to hang on to the quick boys as long as I could”, said Smith-Hilliard, who left many of the post-78 cars behind. “Well, yes, I think they were going faster but spinning! It was better to be the tortoise today…”

In tenth overall, Marc Devis (Surtees TS16) survived a couple of spins to take second in the pre-78 class, the Belgian repassing class rival Niklas Halusa to do so. The Austrian was having his series debut in the McLaren M23 previously campaigned by brother Lukas.

“Slow!” was Devis’ recap of the race. “It was very wet, very slippery, and it was especially hard to find traction out of the slow corners. I spun a few times but fought back past Halusa. It was fun, though, I feel like the last man standing…”

On a very wet Autodromo do Algarve, the field was held behind the safety car for two laps to allow the competitors to get acquainted with the conditions. At the green flag at the start of lap 3, Werner got away cleanly into the lead from Constable, d’Ansembourg, Brooks and Kubota, but soon Padmore was up into third chasing Constable, while Brooks had got ahead of d’Ansembourg, with Max Smith-Hilliard in the pre-78 class-leading Shadow DN5 in hot pursuit of the Belgian. Meanwhile, Mark Hazell’s Williams FW08 was the race’s first retirement.

On lap 4, Padmore was up into second to create a JPS Lotus 1-2. Constable held third from Brooks’ Lotus 91, d’Ansembourg in the first of the Williams FW07Cs, Kubota in the second 91, while from the back Mike Cantillon was arriving fast in his FW07C – however, he was awarded a 10-second time penalty for overtaking under the safety car, making his challenge even tougher than it was.

On a roll, Padmore passed Werner for the lead on lap 5 while Constable valiantly kept in touch with the two Lotus cars up front. Similarly, Smith-Hilliard was flying too, his Shadow now up into fourth ahead of Kubota, d’Ansembourg, Brooks, Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 and Cantillon. On the verge of the top-ten, Marc Devis in the Surtees TS16 fought the debuting Niklas Halusa – in the McLaren M23 raced to the class title by brother Lukas – for second in the pre-78 class.

Lap 8 completed, and with less than five minutes to go, there was no stopping Padmore, his Lauda-class Lotus 92 leading Werner by eight seconds. In fact, the German was forced to pay attention to his mirrors as Constable had closed to within a second. 23 seconds down, Smith-Hilliard held a comfortable class lead, while Kubota, d’Ansembourg and Brooks fought over fifth. Briggs, Cantillon and Devis held station at the bottom of the top-ten, in front of Halusa, Paul Tattersall’s Ensign N179 and Richard Hope in the glorious Alfa Romeo 182.

Padmore controlled the race towards the end, taking his first overall Masters Historic Formula One win since 2019, while Constable pipped Werner to second. Smith-Hilliard bagged a convincing pre-78 class win, leading home Kubota, Brooks – who nipped past d’Ansembourg right at the end – and Briggs. Devis held off Halusa for second place in the pre-78 class.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 2
Werner rises to the top in second Masters Historic Formula One race at Portimão

Marco Werner brushed off challenges from teammate Nick Padmore and Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C to win the second Masters Historic Formula One race at the Algarve Classic Festival. Werner’s Lotus 81 hit the front on lap 3, passing early leader Steve Brooks whose Lotus 91 was clobbered by Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 only moments later. Fortunately, both drivers were OK.

“Two more laps and he would have caught me”, said Werner about d’Ansembourg coming really close at the end. “He was really fast on the straight, so I’m happy with the result.”

The safety car stayed out for four laps in order for the marshals to retrieve the two cars, and at the restart Padmore initially put Werner under pressure before d’Ansembourg came to the fore to pass Padmore’s post-82 class-winning Lotus 92 and close the gap to Werner. The German held on for the win, though, leading a gaggle of five cars across the line that also included Katsu Kubota’s Lotus 91 and Mike Cantillon’s FW07C.

“I missed a gear over the back”, said Padmore about the moment he lost second place to the Belgian, “but he was faster anyway.”

“This was one of my best”, said a very happy d’Ansembourg. “The car went really well, and after the restart I gave everything I had. I took fastest lap, and I’m really happy with that.”

Marc Devis drove a strong race to take the pre-78 class win in his Surtees TS16, the Belgian pipping Warren Briggs’ McLaren M29 to sixth overall right at the end. In eighth overall, Niklas Halusa took a pre-78 podium on his Masters Historic Formula One debut weekend in the McLaren M23, leading home Mark Hazell’s Williams FW08 and Paul Tattersall’s Ensign N179.

“That was good!” said a delighted Devis. “I’m really, really satisfied – an unbelievable race.”

“My first weekend in the car, and my first time here!”, said Halusa about his rookie experience as a Formula One driver. “My neck hurts, I really didn’t expect that…”

Richard Hope encouragingly completed an entire weekend of racing in his Alfa Romeo 182 while in 12th overall Michel Baudoin’s Hesketh 308E took third in the pre-78 class.

After a lengthy delay in one of the previous races, the Masters Historic Formula One still got going sometime on the Sunday afternoon of the Algarve Classic Festival. Soon we had the sight of four JPS Lotus cars heading the field, Brooks from Kubota, Werner and Padmore, with Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C and Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 up next. Mike Cantillon was up into seventh in the second FW07C, having demoted Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29, with Mark Devis in the pre-78 Surtees TS16 and Mark Hazell in the post-82 Williams FW08 completing the top-ten.

On the next lap, the two German-run Lotuses passed Kubota for second and third while Brooks hung on to his lead – but for how long? At the start of lap 3, Werner grabbed the lead but soon, though, the safety car was out, with both Brooks’ Lotus 91 and Constable’s Tyrrell 011 missing from the field, the result of contact at the back of the circuit, Constable losing control under braking for the hairpin. As a result, the car was launched over the kerbs, with Brooks the innocent victim. Both were OK but very much out of the race.

As the remaining cars bunched up behind the safety car, Werner led Padmore, d’Ansembourg, Kubota, Cantillon, Briggs, Hazell, Devis, Niklas Halusa in the McLaren M23 and Paul Tattersall in the Ensign N179. Outside the top-ten, Michel Baudoin’s Hesketh 308E led Richard Hope in the Alfa-engined Alfa Romeo 182.

As it took no less than four laps to clear the two stricken cars, no more than seven minutes of racing remained. From the restart, Werner’s Lotus 81 was put under enormous pressure from teammate Padmore in the more recent post-82 Lotus 92, with d’Ansembourg keeping a close watch in third, ahead of Kubota, Cantillon and Briggs.

On lap 10, though, his tyres fully heated up again, Werner eased away to lead Padmore by seven tenths, with d’Ansembourg, Kubota and Cantillon eyeing up any mistake by the leaders. Ten seconds down, Briggs led a second group that consisted of Hazell, pre-78 class leader Devis and the Belgian’s class rival Niklas Halusa. Tattersall was a lonely ninth while Hope had cleared Baudoin for tenth.

On lap 11, Werner had pulled two seconds clear while Padmore felt the pressure from d’Ansembourg, Kubota and Cantillon, his three pursuers still in the same order. Further back, Devis and Halusa both got passed Hazell after the Williams driver tripped up.

On the penultimate lap, d’Ansembourg took his chance and moved up into second while producing the fastest lap of the race, thereby also narrowing the gap to Werner to nine tenths. But nothing changed on the final lap, Werner taking the win from d’Ansembourg, Padmore, Kubota and Cantillon. Devis pipped Briggs for sixth while claiming pre-78 class honours from Halusa and Baudoin further back. Hazell and Tattersall rounded out the top-ten, with Richard Hope completing a full weekend with the Alfa Romeo 182 in 11th.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Macedo Silva takes home win in Masters Historic Sports Car race at Portimão

Pedro Macedo Silva (Lola T70 Mk3) survived two time penalties to beat Andy Willis’ Lola T212 to victory in the one-hour race at the Algarve Classic Festival. The pair inherited a fight for the lead when long-time leader Steve Brooks’ Lola T70 Mk3B suddenly broke down right towards the end. Having already incurred a ten-second time penalty for a starting procedure infringement, Macedo Silva then needed a late burst of pace to also negate a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits. The local hero still got the job done by 1.3 seconds.

“It was total mayhem!” said Macedo Silva while he found that the cigarettes he brought in his overall pocket were completely soaked. “I tried to maintain the car on the track all of the time, it was all over the place. And I didn’t have any wipers, I lost them very early on in the race. But it’s great that a non-B Mk3 has won a Masters Historic Sports Car race again instead of a Mk3B!”

“I didn’t actually know my position”, said a confused Willis. “So I just did my own thing every lap, keep things neat and tidy.”

After his Jérez win with Martin O’Connell, Steve Brooks looked poised for a clean run of Masters Historic Sports Car wins on the Iberian peninsula by storming off to a solo victory on the Autodromo do Algarve but was thwarted when his Lola was seen trundling into the pits with just five more minutes to go.

John Emberson took a lonely third in his Chevron B19 while John Spiers and Nigel Greensall grabbed the pre-66 Hulme-class win with a strong fourth overall. In fifth, Chris Lillingston-Price cornered the Bonnier class win from Andrew & Mark Owen’s similar Chevron B8 while John Sheldon took sixth on his way to another Siffert class win.

“It was wet!” said Emberson. “I had a bit of a lonely race but it’s good to finish it in third, because I went off twice! In fact, I was glad to be on my own because the visibility was so poor. I was all wet in the car, with water coming in from all angles. But it was a great race, and I love this track.”

“We’re very pleased with that”, said Greensall. “We survived! John did a great stint, I think he had the worst of the weather.”

“I’m completely soaked, the water just comes in from the bottom”, said Spiers. “After the start it was so wet and there was so much standing water…”

With daylight saving time having ended the night before, the field got going well after dawn – but behind the safety car, as a fresh shower had put an end to any wish for dry conditions. After three laps under caution, Brooks’ Lola T70 Mk3B immediately broke away from Macedo Silva’s non-B T70 Mk3, with the Hulme-class-leading McLaren M1B of John Spiers up next. Soon though, Andy Willis had come through to take third in the Lola T212. The Chevron B19s of John Emberson and Mathias Devis followed, with Charles Allison and Andrew Owen debating the Bonnier class lead in their B8s. Michael Gans in the Lola T290 had already disappeared into the pits with battery issues.

After his initial breakaway, however, Brooks was unable to shake off Macedo Silva any further, the gap stabilising at 1.8 seconds, with Willis closing in on the both of them. Further back, Devis had slipped away behind Rolf Sigrist’s B19 and the two B8s, while Spiers was dropping back towards John Sheldon’s B16, Chris Lillingston-Price in the third B8, Spiers’ class rival Chris Jolly in the Cooper Monaco T61M and Gaby von Oppenheim in the unique Alpine A210.

20 minutes into the race, Macedo Silva had inched closer but was consequently slammed with a ten-second time penalty for a breach of the race-starting procedures. This instantly promoted Willis into second, now nine seconds adrift of Brooks, whose lead had now suddenly become much more serene. Emberson was a lonely fourth ahead of Allison and Owen, with Sigrist and Devis quarreling over seventh place.

Brooks having got into his stride, a new fastest lap of the race took his lead up to nearly ten seconds, but Willis’ second place on the official timing screens (and third on the road) was under threat because of Macedo Silva besting Brooks’ effort, to again close in on the leader.

The pit window now in sight, Brooks produced another fastest lap of the race to lead Willis by ten seconds and Macedo Silva by 12. Emberson was 41 seconds down on the leader, while Allison abandoned his fight with Owen (A.) to be the first to pit and hand over to Peter Thompson. Too soon, though, which meant that Thompson had to perform another drivethrough on the next lap, at the same time when Brooks came in for his stop. This elevated Willis into the lead, albeit temporarily. Sigrist in the Italian-run B19 was in next, and so were Lillingston-Price, Sheldon and Spiers, the latter handing over to Nigel Greensall. On the following tour, it was Macedo Silva’s turn, an example followed by Emberson, Owen (handing over to son Mark) and Von Oppenheim. On lap 14, Willis and Mathias Devis (changing hands with brother Régis) were the last ones in – apart from Chris Jolly, who appeared to have missed the pit window.

“Our own timing didn’t take the safety-car start in account”, Jolly explained about missing the pit window. “So we missed it by 30 seconds. But our car is pretty undriveable in this weather anyway, so…”

The pitstops having panned out, Brooks now led Willis by 13 seconds and Macedo Silva by 20 – even though the Portuguese driver was still second on the road, ten seconds down on the leader. Emberson was fourth, now 1 minute and 26 seconds behind, while Mark Owen had taken charge in the Bonnier class, well ahead of Chris Lillingston-Price, as Jolly came in after all to hand sixth to Sigrist. The Swiss driver was under imminent threat of Greensall, however, the McLaren having just cleared Lillingston-Price for seventh. Behind Steve Farthing returning in Jolly’s car but facing a stop-and-go penalty for missing that pit window, Sheldon, Devis (R.), Thompson and Von Oppenheim were next, with Gans dead-last but thoroughly enjoying himself by setting fastest laps of the race, the team having changed the Lola’s battery.

At the front, with 15 minutes to go, Brooks’ advantage had increased to some 20 seconds, as Willis and Macedo Silva still debated second place. Emberson looked fairly safe in fourth, but Greensall had moved into fifth ahead of Mark Owen. Lillingston-Price’s efforts to win the Bonnier were given a blow when he was handed a ten-second time penalty for a short mandatory stop, but he was still closing in on Owen, and on lap 20 he got the job done. Sigrist, meanwhile, was in for a second unscheduled stop, handing eighth overall to Sheldon, with Régis Devis completing the top-ten. Further back, Gans’ rapid pace had made him catch up with Von Oppenheim’s Alpine.

And then, shock, as on lap 21, Brooks trundled into the pits, his Chevy engine coughing… So now the fight was between Willis and Macedo Silva, 2.6 seconds separating the pair, as the latter led on the road. Emberson moved up into third, with Greensall in fourth but trailing Emberson’s B19 by 53 seconds. Lillingston-Price led the Bonnier class in fifth, ahead of Owen.

It wasn’t over yet, as towards the end, Macedo Silva found some more pace to negate his disadvantage to Willis and reverse their positions – on lap 24, and less than two minutes from the end, the Portuguese driver was into the lead – both on the road and officially. But then even more drama, as Macedo Silva was handed a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits – as that had been the way that had helped him pick up the pace. So now Willis was back in the lead but by a mere three tenths!

At the drop of the chequered flag, Macedo Silva still got the job done, winning by 1.3 seconds from Willis, with Emberson a distant third. In fourth, John Spiers and Nigel Greensall took a dominant Hulme-class win in their McLaren M1B while Chris Lillington-Price took fifth and the Bonnier class win. Sheldon was sixth and the winner of the Siffert class, with the Owen/Owen Chevron B8 seventh, followed home by the B19s of Rolf Sigrist and Mathias & Régis Devis.