Autódromo Internacional Algarve, Portugal

ALGARVE CLASSIC FESTIVAL
28 – 30 October 2023

Masters thrills the crowd at the Algarve Classic Festival

Six exciting Masters races with six different winners made sure the spectators at the Algarve Classic Festival had some great racing entertainment! The abundance of sunshine during the weekend helped turn the Hawaiian-themed final day of racing into a great success, with drivers, team members and Masters crew all contributing to the fun.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
Lendoudis comes through for victory in first Masters Endurance Legends race in the Algarve

Kriton Lendoudis charged up from fourth on the grid to claim a fighting win in the first Masters Endurance Legends race at Portimão. The Greek got up to his true speed halfway into the first stint when his Peugeot 908 powered past the quick-starting Lola-Judd B12/60 of David Brise, having already made up a spot after Richard Meins’ Peugeot 90X dropped away on the second lap. Lendoudis then chased and caught Steve Brooks in the other 90X. Brooks had led the opening half of the race, but spun on the out lap after his mandatory stop, having exited the pit still narrowly ahead of his rival.

“I think my best lap was my last lap!” said Lendoudis about gaining ever more pace during the race. “I wasn’t saving my tyres at the start, it’s just how I am – I’m always a slow starter, and then I get better and better towards the end! It was fun, this was a great race.”

“I managed to get out in front at the stops”, said Brooks about his efforts to maintain the end. “But then I pushed too hard at the top of the hill. It seemed very slippery on that spot, the Lola spun there the lap before.”

Having started from the pitlane, Christian Gläsel performed heroics to haul his Pescarolo-Judd 01 all the way up to third, passing Stuart Wiltshire’s Ligier-Judd JSP2 – that took a strong P2 class win – and Olivier Galant’s HPD-Honda ARX-03a in the final two laps. Behind the recovering Meins in sixth, Mike Newton ran home second in the P2 class in his MG-Lola-AER EX257, with the invitational Ligier JSP3-20 of Lee Mowle and Phil Keen in eighth.

“We started about 40 seconds later than everybody else!” said Gläsel about starting from the pitlane. “It’s our first time with the car, and in practice and qualifying we had lots of issues with the power steering. Fortunately, now the steering was good, so I survived!”

Craig Davies and Ron Maydon won their private battle for P3 class glory, as they outran the similar Ligier-Nissan JSP3 of Stephan Joebstl and Andy Willis. Jason Wright took GT class honours in his Ferrari 458 GT3, fending off Xavier Galant in a Ferrari 458 GTE.

Following an early lunch, the Masters Endurance Legends field lined up for its first race of the Algarve Classic Festival weekend. Christian Gläsel’s Pescarolo-Judd 01 would be starting from the pitlane, the car still suffering from the power-steering issues that had marred it since the start of the weekend. Headed by the three Peugeots, Brooks led Meins around on the first lap, but in the Lola B12/60, David Brise made an immediate impact by picking off Lendoudis for third. Wiltshire was fifth and in the P2 class lead, followed by Olivier Galant’s HPD ARX-03a, Lee Mowle in the invitational Ligier JSP3-20 and Craig Davies in the P3-class-leading Ligier JSP3-15.

Up front, meanwhile, Meins dropped away to allow Brise into second place, now trailing Brooks by 2.6 seconds. Lendoudis was third, four seconds adrift of the leader, while Wiltshire’s deficit on lap 3 had increased to 15 seconds. With a few strong opening laps, Mike Newton had hauled his MG-Lola EX257 up to fifth, having demoted Olivier Galant. Next up were Mowle, Maydon, Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75, and GT class leader Jason Wright in the Ferrari 458 GT3, but the recovering Meins was closing fast, as was Gläsel from his pitlane start. Soon, Wright was left to directly fight his nearest GT rival, Xavier Galant in the Ferrari 458 GTE, with Stephan Joebstl in the Ligier JSP3-17 right in the middle of that.

Five laps into the race, Brise wasn’t letting Brooks off the hook – on the contrary, since the ex-Rebellion Lola had cut the gap to the Peugeot 90X to 1.4 seconds, with Lendoudis keeping a close watch 1.6 seconds behind Brise. Wiltshire and Galant (O.) were on their own, but Newton was still battling Mowle, the pair of them seven seconds ahead of Davies, with Furness a further 17 ticks behind. Gläsel and Meins were closing on the Courage fast, though.

Into lap 7, Brooks had found a rhythm that helped slowly build his lead over Brise again, which was now back up to 3.7 seconds. Lendoudis had similarly found pace, the Greek producing purple sectors to inch closer to Brise. The next time around, Lendoudis put in the fastest lap of the race so far.

Entering lap 9, the field was now welcome to come in for their mandatory mid-race stop, and Joebstl was the first to make use of the occasion, the Austrian handing the wheel over to Andy Willis in their fight for the P3 class title with the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon pairing. For a while, there were no other takers, until Mike Newton and Lee Mowle decided it was time, the latter handing over to Phil Keen.

On lap 10, making use of his newly found pace, Lendoudis’ 908 breezed past Brise to set after the leading Peugeot that was now 4.8 seconds up the road. Next in were Gläsel’s Pesca, Xavier Galant’s 458 GTE, Furness in the Courage, and David Brise who would swap places with Alan Purbrick.

On lap 12, Lendoudis continued to fly, crushing his own fastest lap of the race with another four-tenths before both he and Brooks came in simultaneously – the heat was on. Shortly after, Davies came in to hand over to Maydon, while Olivier Galant’s noisy HPD was in next. Now only Wiltshire, Meins and Wright still stayed out, but their respective Ligier, Peugeot and Ferrari pitted at the end of lap 13.

After all the stops had panned out, it became apparent that Brooks had lost out, a spin on his out lap having cost him half a minute to Lendoudis, who was now sailing in free air, well up the road from everyone else. Wiltshire was a solid third, 57 seconds down on the Greek, with the younger Galant now up into fourth in the HPD. Gläsel and Meins were in fifth and sixth now, leading Newton, Keen and Maydon, as Purbrick had dropped down to tenth, ahead of Furness and Willis, who was looking at a deficit of well over a minute to his class rival Maydon.

As the clock ticked down, Lendoudis nursed his lead while occasionally producing more fastest laps just to have fun, the Greek increasing his advantage to 38 seconds. On the penultimate lap, Gläsel pushed through to pass Wiltshire and Galant for third after a valiant drive through the field. Meins was a lapped sixth ahead of Keen, while Newton took second to Wiltshire in the P2 class. Purbrick ran home ninth ahead of the P3 class fight between Maydon and Willis, the former keeping well over a minute in hand to lift the class win. Behind Furness, who took third in P2, Wright grabbed the GT spoils from Xavier Galant.

Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
Gläsel beats the Peugeots in second Masters Endurance Legends race at Portimão

Despite a five-second time penalty for leaving the car on its jacks after the five-minute board, Christian Gläsel was the hero of the season-closing Masters Endurance Legends race at the Algarve Classic Festival, as the German powered his Pescarolo-Judd 01 past the Peugeots to claim a well-earned victory. Saturday’s winner Kriton Lendoudis led for three-quarters of the race before his Peugeot 908 was passed by Gläsel, with Steve Brooks taking third in the Peugeot 90X.

“I didn’t know that, I feel quite lucky!” said Gläsel straight after the race. “Kriton was leading the whole way, driving superclean, but then he had a backmarker that was hard to pass – that was the only chance I had to overtake him.”

Lendoudis agreed with that. “Leading most of the race is not enough! I badly lost out in traffic towards the end. I had a bad moment with a backmarker and he found the space to pass me. After he got me, I had more traffic issues, but that’s how it goes. It was still good.”

Richard Meins in the other 90X initially powered up the field to challenge Brooks for third but dropped away to allow Olivier Galant’s HPD-Honda ARX-03a to snatch fourth. Stuart Wiltshire was in command in the P2 class, his Ligier JSP2 leading all the way from Mike Newton’s older MG-Lola-AER EX257.

“Yes, Richard came up behind me”, said Brooks of Meins’ initial challenge, “but then I pulled away from him and he disappeared. It was hard racing today, conditions were quite tricky – it was on the edge all of the time because of the damp patches still remaining on the track. It was quite slippery in some places.”

Behind the invitational Ligier-Nissan JSP3-20 of Lee Mowle/Phil Keen, the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon (Ligier-Nissan JSP3) pairing beat the similarly equipped duo of Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis to ninth overall and last-gap overall title glory for Maydon. Meanwhile, in GTs, Jason Wright (Ferrari 458 GT3) doubled up with another win over the 458 GTE of Xavier Galant.

“What can I say?” Wright said about duly taking a pair of comfortable class wins. “I love the car, I love the track, but I spent a lot of time being in the way of the faster prototypes!”

Following overnight rain, the track still contained wet patches, but for the first time in the weekend, the day started out with a clear blue sky, as the Masters Endurance Legends field geared up for its second race at the Algarve Classic Festival. After a safety-car start to allow drivers to become acquainted with the last remaining wet spots, Lendoudis and Brooks powered away, but the latter was immediately chased hard by Gläsel’s Pescarolo 01, with Wiltshire up next, with Olivier Galant in the HPD in hot pursuit of the P2 Ligier.

On lap 4, Lendoudis still led, but now had Gläsel powering on behind him, the German having left Brooks five seconds behind. Richard Meins coming from the back in the third Peugeot had moved past Galant’s HPD and subsequently Wiltshire’s Ligier to be fourth, and his pace was such that he soon was on the gearbox of Brooks in the sister 90X. Mowle was seventh in the invitational JSP3-20, immediately followed by Mike Newton’s MG-Lola EX257, Craig Davies in the P3-class-leading Ligier JSP3, with Alan Purbrick (Lola B12/60) and Mike Furness (Courage LC75) up next. Jason Wright once again led the GT class from Xavier Galant, Ferrari 458 GT3 ahead of the GTE-spec 458.

Approaching the pit window, Lendoudis in the 908 held a three-second lead over Gläsel, who had left the other two Peugeots behind by eight seconds, Brooks still ahead of Meins. After six laps of trying, however, Galant Jr’s HPD ARX-03a had finally vaulted Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 to take fifth, with the rest of the order remaining unchanged. Stephan Joebstl was the first to visit the pits for his mandatory stop, handing the Ligier JSP3 over to Andy Willis to allow the Austro-English pair a shot at the P3 class title in their direct match-up with Craig Davies and Ron Maydon in the other JSP3. Brooks went in with him.

Gläsel was the next one to pit, just as Lendoudis set fastest lap of the race while the rest of the field also left it late. On lap 10, Galant (O.) and Wiltshire pitted simultaneously, and Newton followed them in, along with Davies (Maydon waiting to take over) and Purbrick (handing the wheel of the B12/60 to David Brise), with Furness also coming in on the same lap. Mowle and Wright pitted on lap 11, Mowle’s car remaining stuck in the pits for too long, and the pair were followed by the leader at the start of lap 12, who now held a 16-second gap over Meins. Along with Xavier Galant, Meins carried on for one more lap to be on the cusp of the pit window ending before making their stop, Galant in fact overstaying his welcome on the track.

After all the stops, Lendoudis led Gläsel by a mere 2.5 seconds but then the news came in that the German was handed a five-second time penalty for not having the car still on its jacks after the five-minute board. Brooks and Meins still warred over third place, over 20 seconds down on the Greek in the lead, while Galant (O.) now had seven seconds in hand over Wiltshire in sixth. Further back, David Brise was on the way up, now chasing Newton for seventh overall. Maydon was ninth while his P3 rival Willis was still 13th.

With less than ten minutes to go, Lendoudis once again upped his pace to record another fastest lap of the race, but Gläsel stayed close enough in his mirrors to be worried despite that five-second penalty. In fact, on the next lap, the German cut back the deficit with a full second and was soon all over the 908. On lap 12, with five minutes remaining on the clock, Gläsel hit the lead. Behind them, Brooks had shaken off the attentions of Meins to go 13 seconds clear of the other 90X, while further back, Brise had indeed passed Newton for seventh, but on the next lap was seen returning to the pits.

With the bit between his teeth, Gläsel sneaked out to a 3.9-second lead on lap 20, a gap that now would have been worrying to Lendoudis. And on lap 21, the German had indeed done enough to undo his penalty, leading the Greek by 5.7 ticks. Two more laps remained, and Gläsel used them to create a nine-second gap that was big enough to hold on to the win. Two Peugeots were next, Lendoudis ahead of Brooks, as Olivier Galant passed the ailing 90X of Richard Meins to snatch fourth right at the end. Wiltshire was sixth and the P2 class winner ahead of Mike Newton, while Mowle/Keen bagged eighth. Maydon beat Willis to ninth overall and the P3 class win, while Furness took 11th. Jason Wright repeated Saturday’s form by claiming another GT win from Xavier Galant.

Masters Gentlemen Drivers & Pre66 Touring Cars
Haddon powers little Elan to overall Masters Gentlemen Drivers victory, as Tilley wins in Masters Pre-66 Touring Cars

Andrew Haddon grabbed his little Lotus Elan by the scruff of its slender neck to not only win his CLP class but take overall victory as well in the 90-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at the Algarve Classic Festival. Haddon initially trailed the pole-sitting TVR Griffith of Nigel Greensall and John Spiers as well as the open-top AC Cobra of local son-and-father duo Pedro & Rui Macedo Silva, but he moved up a place when the Cobra faltered and then pipped the leading TVR Griffith at the stops. The second part of the race was all about Haddon managing his useful nine-second gap to Spiers which only at the end shrunk to within three seconds.

“I didn’t realise!” said a jubilant Haddon, having only been told after the race that he’d won. “I thought the Cobra was in the lead and that I was holding John for second place! And I wasn’t quite ‘coolly managing’ that gap – one f***-up and he would have got me.”

“We were managing a temperature issue”, Spiers explained about being unable to catch Haddon while only later throwing caution to the wind. “Towards the end I stopped doing that, but we ran out of time.”

The Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis Lotus Elan and Robin Ward/Ron Maydon Ginetta G4R made it three CLP cars in the top four. After a typically spirited drive, Phil Keen got Lee Mowle’s Jaguar E-type up to fourth overall, but the pair were later penalised for pitstop infringements, as were Ward and Maydon – which allowed Joebstl and Willis to take third overall. Multiple Le Mans winner Benoit Tréluyer hauled the E-type started by Nick Jarvis to fifth while in ninth overall, Doug Muirhead and Jeremy Welch secured the C2 class win.

“The car was fantastic!” said Willis. “Stephan did an amazing job staying with the others, and for me it was just a pleasure to get in the car and drive.”

“I don’t feel like a champion!” said Maydon, still sweating after some hard work in the Ginetta. “We lost second gear, so it was either first or third – it just wouldn’t get out of the corners. You know those days when you try hard and only keep going backwards? This was one of them!”

Meanwhile, in the concurrent one-hour Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race, Kyle Tilley reigned supreme in his Lotus Cortina, the US-based Briton home free after the Cortina challenge from the Julian Thomas/Andy Wolfe pairing crumbled early on. Their Cortina’s demise due to an electrics issue meant the end to Thomas’ title chances, as he needed a win to pass Sam Tordoff – not present at Portimão – in the final standings. The Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAs of father-and-son duos Xavier & Olivier Galant and Martin & Lukas Halusa took second and third.

“It was uneventful, really”, said Tilley about winning by a lap. “Right at the end we were managing a gearbox issue but at the start, we settled into a pace similar to the Wolfe car, so that could have been great. But still, I was lucky enough to drive around here, enjoy myself and take the win.”

On a sunny and bright Saturday afternoon, the combined Masters Gentlemen Drivers & Pre-66 Touring Car field got moving with Nigel Greensall powering off into the lead in John Spiers’ TVR Griffith, having already dominated qualifying. Behind him, positions changed rapidly, depending on who was in the car. From fourth on the grid, Andrew Haddon charged up into second place, passing Pedro Macedo Silva’s open-top AC Cobra almost immediately, while fellow CLP-class competitor Robin Ward was also on the rise, getting his Ginetta G4R up to fourth on the opening lap, leading former Le Mans star Benoit Tréluyer in the Rob Jarvis Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Nick Jarvis in the E-type he would share with the two-timing Frenchman. Lee Mowle’s E-type and Stephan Joebstl’s Lotus Elan went the other way, as they fought the Griffith of the Dods – Peter driving – and the Elan Shapecraft of Robin Ellis, that would later be taken over by Julian Thomas.

Thomas, meanwhile, led the touring-car section in the Cortina he shared with Andy Wolfe, which meant that he was the provisional champion. Soon he was up into ninth overall, and absolutely flying compared to Cortina rival Kyle Tilley and the Alfa GTAs of Xavier Galant and Martin Halusa. It wouldn’t last for long, though, as his Cortina was seen limping into the pits with a loss of electrics. If the win was indeed gone, Sam Tordoff – not present at Portimão – would take the title by default, based on his slender lead.

At the front, the younger Macedo Silva had wrestled back second place from Haddon but was now trailing Greensall by ten seconds already, while Tréluyer got the Corvette up into fourth place, relegating Ward to fifth. Further back, Peter Dod was on the move as well, his Griffith now seventh while chasing Jarvis (N.) in the E-type.

In C2, Mark Holme and Doug Muirhead were at loggerheads over the class lead, but Calum Lockie in Simon Orebi Gann’s Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports wasn’t far off from the two Austin Healey 3000s. Nelson Calle in the C1-class-leading Porsche 911 was 17th overall, and Marc Gordon’s B1 Lotus Elite ran 20th. In the touring-car section, Tilley now led the warring GTAs of Galant and Halusa by some 40 seconds, while Nick Topliss was 21st overall in Ellie Birchenhough’s Mini Cooper S.

The first 15 minutes of the race were now gone, and Greensall’s lead to Macedo Silva Jr was up to 15 seconds, with Haddon two seconds adrift of the local hero. Tréluyer followed six seconds behind the Elan, with Ward holding station in fifth, 12 seconds down, looking to secure the Gent Drivers title for relief driver Ron Maydon. Here, Julian Thomas was in with another shout but he would have to win his class in Robin Ellis’ Lotus Elan 26R Shapecraft, with Ward and Maydon failing to finish the race – a tall order.

Further down the field, it was all change in C2 – Mark Holme had reported to the pits while Lockie had usurped Muirhead for the class lead. Soon, Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus would move into third in class in another Big Healey, as Holme remained stationary in the pits, where it was diagnosed that his Healey was unable to take further part. Meanwhile, an entertaining fight was taking place for eighth overall, as the Elans of Stephan Joebstl, Chris Atkinson and Robin Ellis fought Lee Mowle’s E-type.

The touring-car pit window was steadily approaching now, and Xavier Galant was the first to come in, handing the wheel of his GTA to Olivier, the younger Galant. The lap after, Martin Halusa swapped places with son Lukas in their GTA, with Kyle Tilley in next, followed by Topliss who would hand over to Birchenhough.

The race now past the half-hour mark, Greensall continued to lead serenely, now 18 seconds ahead of Macedo Silva, 26 seconds ahead of Haddon and half a minute in front of Tréluyer, as the gaps had grown big enough for everyone to be safe in their positions. Meanwhile, just when it was deemed acceptable for the Wolfe team to accept defeat, Andy Wolfe was back out in the Cortina. He was a whopping 11 laps down on Tilley, though, so any chance of a worthwhile comeback would hinge on all the other touring cars faltering within the next 21 minutes…

That was when the relative peace at the front of the field also came to an end, as Pedro Macedo surrendered second place to Haddon, the AC Cobra having lost second, third and fourth gears. This promoted Haddon to the runner-up spot, now 28 seconds down on the leading Greensall, with Tréluyer in the Corvette a further nine seconds behind. Ward was now fourth ahead of Jarvis (N.) in the E-type, with Dod, Atkinson, Joebstl and Ellis all also moving up a spot. In C2, Lockie’s lead over Muirhead had increased to eight seconds, but Muirhead still had co-driver Jeremy Welch up his sleeve.

In the touring cars, Tilley had well over a minute in hand over the younger Halusa, who himself was duelling with the younger Galant, the two Alfas split by six seconds, with Birchenhough a lap down on the top three.

The GT pit window now open, Tréluyer was among the first to come in, the Frenchman having to prepare himself for taking over the E-type raced by Nick Jarvis during the opening stint. The Corvette, however, would only leave the pits six laps later, putting it out of contention. Shortly after, Atkinson was in for Steve Jones, while Robin Ellis came in to hand over to Julian Thomas, with Lee Mowle pitting to hand Phil Keen the wheel of his E-type.

At the start of lap 23, Greensall finished a strong opening stint to hand a lead of 30 seconds to John Spiers – many of which would evaporate due to Greensall’s elite-driver time penalty. He was followed on the same lap by Haddon, Nick Jarvis and Doug Muirhead. Ward was the last one to stop, handing the wheel of the Ginetta to Ron Maydon. Another one of the late stoppers, Peter Dod in the TVR Griffith, was unable to let Nathan Dod go out when a brake fluid leak caused the car to catch fire in the pits. Calum Lockie in the Morgan, meanwhile, proved to be a too-late stopper, coming in to hand over to Simon Orebi Gann well after the pit window had closed.

When all the stops had panned out, Haddon led Spiers by eight seconds, but all focus was now on the finish of the touring-car race, as Tilley led home Olivier Galant and Lukas Halusa by a full lap, the Frenchman and the Austrian having swapped places. The Topliss/Birchenhough Mini was fourth and winning the THD class.

With the touring cars flagged off, attention returned to Haddon still leading the race as well as his CLP class, now nine seconds ahead of Spiers, who in turn had 43 seconds in hand over Ron Maydon in third. Andy Willis had got the Elan started by Joebstl up into fourth, making three CLP cars in the top four, while Tréluyer was fifth in his second stint, now in the E-type started by Nick Jarvis. In Robin Ellis’ Elan Shapecraft, Julian Thomas had taken Steve Jones in the regular Elan for sixth, while Phil Keen was flying in Lee Mowle’s E-type, now in eighth but with 25 minutes to spare. In C2, Jeremy Welch led Simon Orebi Gann, who in turn faced a threat from Johan Rosendahl in the Healey started by Nyblaeus.

As Haddon maintained the nine-second gap to Spiers, Tréluyer in fifth was closing on Willis who in turn was reeling in Maydon. Further back, Keen was soon past Thomas and now had his eyes set on the similar E-type of Tréluyer, and Keen was lapping two seconds quicker than the multiple Le Mans winner…

Entering the final 15 minutes, Spiers’ nine-second deficit to Haddon remained rock-solid, the two giving each other a tenth back and forth every lap. Maydon was the only other unlapped runner but over two-thirds of a lap behind. The status quo would also remain among the lapped cars following, with the proviso that Keen was still closing on those in front of him – but his next hurdle proved a quick target, as Tréluyer also upped his pace to allow Keen to now only gain ground at a pace of seven tenths every lap.

In the closing stages, Haddon loosened the reins over his Elan a bit to allow Spiers to come within three seconds at the chequered flag. Maydon ran home third – and second in class – to clinch the championship. Two laps from the end, Keen pipped past Willis to take fourth, with Tréluyer in sixth, followed by Thomas, Jones and the C2-class-winning Austin Healey 3000 of Doug Muirhead and Jeremy Welch, who beat the Calum Lockie/Simon Orebi Gann Morgan. The Nelson Calle/Juan Pablo Orjuela Porsche 911 won C1, while Marc Gordon took B1 honours in his Lotus Elite.

Soon after the race, the top-ten order swapped around as Ward/Maydon and Mowle/Keen received 49-second time penalties for pitstop infringements. This meant that Joebstl and Willis were promoted to third overall while Mowle and Keen dropped to seventh behind Ward/Maydon, N. Jarvis/Tréluyer and Ellis/Thomas.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 1
Marco Werner came home victorious in the first Masters Racing Legends race of the Algarve Classic Festival, when a five-second time penalty for track limits demoted on-the-road winner Mike Cantillon to second place. Werner’s Lotus 87B had led almost the entire race but was forced to succumb to a late charge by Cantillon’s flying Williams FW07C. Keeping the gap to 2.6 seconds, however, was enough for the German to still claim victory.

Martin O’Connell chased Werner early on but his Williams FW08C dropped back behind Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 before the McLaren retired on lap 8. Cantillon soon followed Hartley through and found himself in second place and setting much quicker lap times than Werner in the lead. Two laps from the end, the Irishman surged into the lead but he was unable to create the five-second gap necessary to hold on to the win. Behind O’Connell, Lukas Halusa took his Williams FW08 to fourth.

“Initially, I was fine”, said Werner about the gap that he opened up to O’Connell. “But then the front went down a bit, and I suffered from understeering. Fortunately, it was close enough with Mike to still get the win. So you see – never give up!”

“To be honest, I didn’t know that I had been exceeding track limits”, said Cantillon. “It was an exciting race, I had great pace, and I’m a happy second!”

“I wanted to do a race”, said O’Connell about his guest performance in Mark Hazell’s Williams FW08C, “and I always wanted to race that car. It has so much history. But I wasn’t quite fast enough. I did what I could but there was just not enough speed.”

Meanwhile, Patrick d’Aubreby promoted his pre-78 class title chances by finishing a strong fifth overall and keeping the warring Mark Higson (McLaren MP4/1B) and Marc Devis (Lotus 78) between himself and title rival Jonathan Holtzman in the Tyrrell P34. Recovering from a pitstop, Niklas Halusa took third in class in his McLaren M23.

“It’s not done yet!” said d’Aubreby about his lifting his title chances. “Tomorrow will be the decider…”

Holtzman agreed with that: “I’ve never been here before, and in first practice we had lots of problems with the throttle. Then in qualifying the shifter broke. But in the race the car was pretty good, and I got into the 45s. So tomorrow we will go for the win!”

“My earplug fell out!” said Niklas Halusa about the reason for his pitstop. “I know, it’s not the most sensational reason, but when you’re tenth, you don’t want to be ambitious with your hearing…”

On a pleasant Saturday morning in overcast conditions, the Masters Racing Legends Formula One cars rolled out to have their first race of the weekend. Sadly, Steve Brooks was unable to participate, the Cosworth in his Lotus 91 having cried enough during qualifying. After a slight delay caused by oil on the track from a previous race, Marco Werner’s Lotus 87B jumped into the lead, chased by Steve Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1, but halfway into the opening lap Martin O’Connell found a gap to stick the Williams FW08C into to take second.

After a blistering opening salvo, Werner led O’Connell by 1.8 seconds, who in turn was followed by Hartley, Mike Cantillon’s Williams FW07C, Lukas Halusa in the Williams FW08, Patrick d’Aubreby in the pre-78 class-leading March 761 and Mark Hazell’s Williams FW07B. Mark Higson was up next in the McLaren MP4/1B, the Briton leading Marc Devis (Lotus 78) and the other pre-78 runners led by Niklas Halusa (McLaren M23) and Marco Fumagalli (Theodore TR1), with Jonathan Holtzman (Tyrrell P34) up next. Behind the American came Arthur Bruckner’s Arrows A6.

At the front, Werner saw his lead diminish to 1.4 seconds over the next two laps, and behind O’Connell, Hartley and Cantillon were closing up too, Cantillon setting the fastest race lap on lap 3. Halusa (L.) was five seconds down on the Irishman, after which a big gap opened up to d’Aubreby and Hazell, the latter passing the Frenchman into lap 4.

Now Werner began to give it some additional stick, the German increasing his lead over O’Connell back to 1.9 seconds, while Cantillon was still worrying Hartley, as the top four were still less than four seconds apart. Halusa was in no man’s land in fifth while Hazell moved away from pre-78 class leader d’Aubreby who was taking good care of his title chances, as his rival Holtzman was down in fourth in class, chasing Halusa (N.) and Fumagalli.

As Werner inched away to a 3.3-second lead, the cars in P2, P3 and P4 were now nose to tail, split by a mere five tenths. Meanwhile, further back, Niklas Halusa reported to the pits, allowing Fumagalli and Holtzman to move up a place in the pre-78 class.

On lap 7, the order in the top four remained unchanged but Werner was now 4.2 seconds up the road as O’Connell continued to defend from Hartley and Cantillon, the fight allowing Lukas Halusa to inch closer again. Further back, Mark Hazell was hit with a stop-and-go penalty for a starting procedure infringement while Steve Hartley was given the warning flag for exceeding track limits – from now on, the McLaren driver would have to tread more carefully.

Instead, though, he was up into second place on lap 8, having finally pipped O’Connell! But then, as Cantillon also passed O’Connell, disaster struck and the McLaren was seen pulling off at turn 8… So now, Cantillon was up into second in one clean sweep, as Lukas Halusa was preparing himself for an intra-Williams FW08 fight with O’Connell, the Austrian having hit a top speed of 272 kph on the straight. Behind them, d’Aubreby was back past Hazell to find himself in fifth overall. On the fringe of the top ten, Holtzman had got by Fumagalli to take second in the pre-78 class. A lap later, the Italian would return to the pits with an issue. Soon after, Hazell came in to serve his penalty.

With six minutes still to go, Werner was anything but safe. Cantillon was setting fastest laps of the race, and had soon cut the German’s lead from 4.5 seconds to 1.8 seconds in just two laps. However, Cantillon had done so by cutting track limits one time too many, and he was handed a five-second time penalty. The Irishman was now right on Werner’s tail, but would not only need to pass the German but open up a big enough gap to his rival as well. Going into lap 13, Cantillon indeed moved into the lead, but with just two-and-a-half minutes remaining, it would be tight.

As the final minutes ticked away, Cantillon took a 2.4-second lead on the ailing German, but would he be able to repeat the creation of a similar margin on the final lap? No! The gap stayed at 2.6 seconds to hand Werner back the win. O’Connell kept Halusa at bay for the final podium spot, while d’Aubreby drew first blood in the pre-78 title race by taking a strong fifth overall, with Higson and Devis separating him from Holtzman in eighth. Hazell, the returning Niklas Halusa and Arthur Bruckner were the remaining finishers.

Masters Racing Legends for 66/85 F1 Cars – Race 2
Cantillon closes season with hard-fought Masters Racing Legends win at Portimão

Mike Cantillon won the final Masters Racing Legends race of the season after a thrilling duel with Marco Werner. Going head to head for the entire race, the Irishman’s Williams FW07C relinquished the lead once, on lap 9, only to steal it back on the next lap before storming off to a three-second lead over Werner’s Lotus 87B.

“I’m glad for the crowd and all the people that came here”, a delighted Cantillon said, before addressing his race-long fight with Werner and the mistake that almost cost him victory. “And that man just doesn’t give up! Yes, I was going down the straight, hit the brakes, and then my foot slipped off the pedal… I went wide, allowing Marco to pass me, but I was lucky I didn’t go into the gravel. In all, a great way to end the season with Masters.”

“Those last four laps were really difficult, I just had no pace anymore”, Werner said. “I got vibrations, the brakes were fading… It made it very hard, but I’m happy.”

From the back, after his mishap in Saturday’s race, Steve Hartley (McLaren MP4/1) drove a strong race to claim third, passing Lukas Halusa’s Williams FW08. Halusa had started from pole but soon saw Cantillon and Werner jump him, as the Irishman and the German disappeared to have their private battle. He then hung on for several laps before finally succumbing to Hartley’s pressure. On the back of his early-season streak of wins, Hartley had already become champion at the previous round at Spa.

“That was hard”, Hartley said about his comeback race. “And it didn’t help when I spun it at the chicane and had to make up all that ground again. I just pushed and pushed, but it’s really been the first time I’ve been here. Ten years ago was the last time, and not with this car. Yes, I had already won the title, but you want to win every time! Still, it was a good weekend, and I enjoyed it.”

In fifth overall, Patrick d’Aubreby drove a controlled race to bag the pre-78 class win, in the process doing enough to also lift the 2022 pre-78 title. Always having at least one other in between himself and title rival Jonathan Holtzman in the Tyrrell P34 helped the Frenchman in his confidence of a second win during a very successful weekend for the March 761 driver.

“I just tried to drive a clean race”, said the new champion. “I was simply looking where Jonathan was and tried to maintain a safe gap.”

“Patrick just got comfortable, whereas I just don’t know the track”, said Holtzman, who was gracious in defeat. “We had all sorts of issues in practice and qualifying, which cost me the track time that I needed. But he was driving well, and I wasn’t driving good enough to beat him – it’s as simple as that, and you’ve got to give him credit for that.”

As the last race at the end of a very busy European Masters season, the Masters Racing Legends machines lined up for their second encounter at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. With a reversed grid for the first four of Saturday’s race, Lukas Halusa took off from pole in his Williams FW08, with Mike Cantillon in the FW07C and Saturday’s winner Marco Werner in the Lotus 87B right behind the Austrian, since Martin O’Connell had withdrawn Mark Hazell’s FW08 from the race, as well as the FW07B that Hazell himself had raced the day before.

Pre-78 points leader Patrick d’Aubreby was up next in the March 761, still separated from his title rival Jonathan Holtzman’s Tyrrell P34 by two other cars – Mark Higson’s McLaren MP4/1B and Marc Devis in the Lotus 78. Marco Fumagalli (Theodore TR1) and Arthur Bruckner (Arrows A6) followed the six wheeler and its fellow pre-78 class competitor Niklas Halusa in the McLaren M23, but they were soon usurped by Steve Hartley coming from the back in a McLaren MP4/1 that had retired from race one.

At the front, Cantillon and Werner quickly dealt with Lukas Halusa, the Irishman leading the German across the line for the first time with a lead of four tenths – and a hard battle between the two would soon develop. Behind Halusa, d’Aubreby stuck to fourth place, chased by Higson, Devis, Holtzman and Halusa (N.), before the Austrian was passed by Hartley. Behind them, Fumagalli was out of the race with a gearbox issue.

On the next lap, Cantillon broke away by four tenths to get some air between himself and the German in pursuit, and the Williams driver added another fastest lap of the race to increase his lead to just under a second. Hartley, meanwhile, was up to sixth, having jumped Holtzman and Devis. At the back, Bruckner was in after two laps, another victim of gearbox failure.

The leaders had stabilised their positions as they entered lap 5, while Halusa (L.) was left trailing by eight seconds. The Austrian now had Steve Hartley to worry about, as the ‘Jam Baron’ had cleared Higson and d’Aubreby to be fourth, just four seconds adrift from the Williams FW08. D’Aubreby still had his two-car buffer from Holtzman, though, and for the moment looked safe for the pre-78 class title.

With 15 minutes remaining, Werner began to apply the pressure again, closing up on Cantillon by three tenths, as Hartley set fastest lap of the race to get within two seconds of the younger Halusa. Into lap 6, Werner was onto Cantillon’s gearbox, and they crossed the line to start the seventh lap seven tenths apart. Hartley, meanwhile, had cut his deficit to Halusa to just four tenths, both now running eight seconds behind the leaders. D’Aubreby held station 22 seconds behind Cantillon, leading Higson by two seconds, Devis by four seconds and title rival Holtzman by eleven.

On lap 8, however, Cantillon pulled a rabbit out of his hat with a fastest lap of the race that was six tenths faster than Werner’s effort on the same lap, and so the Irishman’s lead was back up to 1.2 seconds. Nine seconds further back, Halusa valiantly hung on against Hartley, the McLaren unable to find a way past the Williams. Further back, Devis was seen trundling into the pits, retiring his Lotus 78 with handling issues.

But then it was all change on lap 9. A small error by Cantillon allowed Werner into the lead, while Hartley finally dealt with Halusa to take third. Cantillon wasn’t giving up, however, and the next time around the two went side-by-side on the straight, resulting in the Irishman retaking the lead! Hartley having passed Halusa (L.), the McLaren had set its target further up the road, and had cut the gap to the leaders to seven seconds, as it left the FW08 five seconds behind.

On lap 12, with less than five minutes left on the clock, a new fastest lap of the race by Cantillon meant his lead was now up to 2.2 seconds, Werner apparently having given up the fight. Hartley and Lukas Halusa were safe in third and fourth, while d’Aubreby looked to have the pre-78 win – and the title – sealed in fifth overall, now 19 seconds ahead of Holtzman in seventh overall, the two sandwiching Higson’s McLaren. In eighth overall, Niklas Halusa was still third in the pre-78 class.

After 15 hard-raced laps, Cantillon was flagged off as the winner, leading Werner across the line by three seconds. Hartley finished third, 11 seconds behind, while Lukas Halusa took fourth, 24 seconds down. In fifth overall, d’Aubréby bagged the pre-78 class win and ensured that he is the new pre-78 champion, as he led home Higson and Holtzman, the latter taking second in class from Niklas Halusa.

Masters Sports Car Legends
Thomas & Wolfe romp to Masters Sports Car Legends win as Willis seals title

Newly formed duo Julian Thomas and Andy Wolfe powered to a largely unchallenged Masters Sports Car Legends victory in the final race of the season at the Algarve Classic Festival. The pair sharing Jason Wright’s Lola-Chevrolet T70 Mk3B, Thomas hit the front when early leader Pedro Macedo Silva crashed his T70 Mk3 at turn 11, after which a lengthy safety-car period bunched the field up right up to the race’s pit window. After that, Wolfe produced some stunning lap times to beat Michael Gans in the Lola T290 by 56 seconds.

“It was good fun, I loved that”, said a happy Thomas. “Racing a T70 at Portimão must be up there as one of the most exciting things in life!”

“I just don’t know how not to push!” said Wolfe about putting in the mega laps right until the end. “If I don’t push, I make mistakes…”

“It was pretty exciting, actually”, Gans said despite being unable to follow Wolfe. “At the start, I had the Portuguese T70 right in front of me, and then it suddenly went off – I assume that was because of the pressure I put on him! After the stops, I just couldn’t keep up with Andy.”

Behind them Nigel Greensall produced a stunning comeback drive, hauling John Spiers’ McLaren M1B from eighth up to third overall at the flag, in the process cornering the pre-66 Hulme class win. Behind the Mathias & Marc Devis Chevron B19 in fourth, Andy Willis was safely home in fifth, enough to pip Tom Bradshaw to this year’s title, as Bradshaw’s B19 succumbed to the same fuel-pressure issues that also blighted the car in qualifying. With Chevron’s demise on lap 2, the race was robbed of its title showdown between Bradshaw and Willis, but the latter did well to stay out of trouble and subsequently seal the title.

“It was fantastic!” said a beaming Greensall. “That was an incredible race, I’m extremely thrilled with that.”

“It was a bit lonely, I didn’t see many other cars”, said Devis Sr, whose son had seen more excitement. “It was more fun for me”, Devis Jr agreed, “and I’m also proud that we did the fastest pitstop of the race.”

In sixth overall, Chris & Freddie Lillingston-Price bagged the Bonnier class win in their Chevron B8 while Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing salvaged second in the Hulme class by taking seventh overall, as their Cooper Monaco T61M stumbled on the final tour.

“When I went over the crest for the last time, it just went boom, and I had no gears, no nothing”, Farthing explained. “So I coasted all the way down to the line… It was tough out there in the dark – the B8 behind didn’t have any lights, it was just a shape behind me.”

With delays having piled up all through the day, the Masters Sports Car Legends field got moving some 50 minutes after its intended start time. This meant a serious threat to the race going its full one-hour length, as sunset was approaching fast – and that with a straight title showdown beckoning between Tom Bradshaw and Andy Willis, the former holding a slender two-point lead in the championship. Neither of them would start from pole, however, as Bradshaw needed to recover from eighth on the grid after a fuel-pressure issue in qualifying, while Willis was fourth behind local hero Pedro Macedo Silva’s Lola T70 Mk3 and American Michael Gans in the Lola T290, who were awarded front-row seats after the pole-winning Lola T70 Mk3B of Julian Thomas/Andy Wolfe was hit with a three-place grid drop.

As Macedo Silva led Gans and Thomas across the line on the opening lap, Bradshaw had already made up four places to be fourth ahead of his rival Willis – but he would also have to negate a 15-second ‘dominant car’ time penalty at the stops as the winner of the previous two races. Niklas Halusa was sixth in the Alfa Romeo 33TT3, leading Mathias Devis in the second of the Chevron B19s and John Spiers in the pre-66 class-leading McLaren M1B – but then disaster struck for the championship leader, as on the second lap Bradshaw’s Chevron B19 departed the scene with the same oil-pressure issues as in qualifying, provoking the arrival of the safety car. Willis was in the wars too, as he was under investigation for a starting-procedure infringement, but at least he was still in the race, making him an instant favourite for a last-gasp title steal.

The straight fight was taken away from us, so now the focus was on Willis doing enough to negate his points gap to Bradshaw – which effectively meant staying in the race. On lap 4, the field was given the green flag again, and Macedo Silva continued to lead from Gans and Thomas, while Halusa got up to fourth at the cost of Willis. Spiers also made up a place at the restart, the McLaren getting in front of Devis Jr, with Chris Lillingston-Price now up into eighth in the Chevron B8 ahead of Chris Jolly in the Cooper Monaco T61M and the Chevron B8’s class rival, David Kelly in the Crosslé 9S.

Again, it proved to be a false start to the race, as this time it was Macedo Silva who disappeared from the scene at turn 11, causing the second arrival of the safety car. Moments before, Thomas had vaulted Gans and now found himself promoted into the lead. The Portuguese driver suffering a collapsed suspension, so the caution period ran straight onto the doorstep of the pit window – it would open 45 seconds after the green flag was waved, and the field was still as bunched up as it was at the start.

As the others continued, Halusa was the first to come in on lap 11. At the front, Thomas created a six-second gap over Gans, with Willis three further ticks behind, while Spiers was the next to pit, ready to hand over to Nigel Greensall. Further back, Kelly had passed Lillingston-Price in their straight Bonnier-class fight, the Crosslé showing that it wasn’t just something different in a Chevron B8-dominated class.

At the half-hour mark, Willis’ penalty was announced – it would be a stop-and-go, meaning that the Lola T212 would have to pit twice in the next few minutes. Gans was now in too, as was Jolly, who would hand over to Steve Farthing, with Chris Lillingston-Price swapping places with son Freddie, and David Kelly making way for fellow Irishman Stephen Doyle. On lap 14, they were joined by Thomas (with Andy Wolfe stepping in), Mathias Devis (dad Marc taking over) and Willis for his mandatory stop. Meanwhile, Halusa was in for a second stop in a misfiring Alfa, as Willis decided to take his penalty straight after, coming back in again on the next lap.

With 20 minutes still to go, Wolfe led Gans by seven seconds, while Devis moved up into third as he profited from Willis’ penalty. Farthing was fifth, having vaulted into the pre-66 class lead thanks to the longer stop required for Greensall’s elite-driver status. Behind the Cooper Monaco, Freddie Lillingston-Price had got back past Doyle’s Crosslé again to run sixth, as Greensall had the best part of a minute to cover in order to get his rival in sight.

In the final quarter of the race, the cars were requested to turn their lights on, as dusk set in. Wolfe, meanwhile, was hammering out the fast laps, now having cleared Gans by 20 seconds, with Devis a further 39 seconds back. 25 ticks after the Belgian, Willis followed in fourth, hoping that the Lola T212 would hold on to the end – a second place in the Marko class behind Devis would do just fine for the title. Behind the top four, however, gaps were cut in a sensational way, young Freddie Lillingston-Price closing in on Farthing, with Greensall mimicking the leaders’ lap times to gain ground on the both of them. Having said that, Wolfe, now truly having some fun, began to slash two more seconds off his best efforts so far to increase his lead over Gans to half a minute.

Behind the all-conquering Wolfe, who ran out to a 56-second lead at the chequered flag, Gans was secure in second place, but Greensall was absolutely flying and picked off Farthing, Willis and Devis in subsequent laps to take a close third to the American. Devis and Willis took fourth and fifth respectively, a result that for Willis was enough to jump Bradshaw in the final standings and take this year’s title. In sixth, Farthing took second in the pre-66 class.