Nürburgring, Germany

OLDTIMER GRAND PRIX
9 – 11 August 2019

Stretton, Wolfe, d’Ansembourg all double up at the ‘Ring!

Martin Stretton, Andy Wolfe and Christophe d’Ansembourg impressively bagged all the Masters wins last weekend at the Nürburgring! Stretton and d’Ansembourg both took individual wins, whilst Wolfe shared with Jason Wright and Julian Thomas, taking home a pair of trophies from the 47th AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix. The well-attended German event was showered by monsoon rainfall on Friday afternoon, but more preferable racing conditions returned for Saturday and Sunday.

RACE REPORTS

Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends – Race 1
D’Ansembourg fends off Cantillon to win first Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends race at the ‘Ring

Christophe d’Ansembourg took a hard-fought win in the first Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends at the Oldtimer Grand Prix event, the Belgian’s Lola Aston Martin DBR1-2 deciding a race-long battle with Mike Cantillon’s Pescarolo-Judd 01 as just six tenths separated the pair on the line.

“Yeah, it was hard”, said d’Ansembourg. “Mike’s really fast. During the race I was really managing, he was fighting for the lead – a different mindset. But at the end, it was stressful to contain him!”

“I knew I had to do a very good stint in the first half, as I had a five-second penalty at the stops”, said Cantillon. “After the pitstop, the team told me he was in the lead. In the end I was closing but it wasn’t close enough. Was it sixth tenths? Wow, that’s good. It was good racing!”

An equally tense battle for P2 class glory came to an end two minutes from the finish when Mike Newton had to abort his attack on Keith Frieser’s lead in the ORECA-Nissan 03. Newton’s MG-Lola EX257 had been leading the class in the opening phase but Frieser managed to get ahead at the stops and defended a two-second lead when Newton’s MG-Lola disappeared from Frieser’s mirrors.

“It was very good!” said Frieser about his race. “Mike got a gap at the start, but I gained eight seconds at the stops – I got a great in and out lap. Then at the end, I saw him get on the grass, and then he was gone.”

Behind the two invitational Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 cars that in the hands of Oliver Mathai and Timo Scheibner ran home fifth and sixth, Dominik Roschmann (Ferrari 458 GTC) came out on top of a thrilling GT battle with the 458 GTEs of Ulrich Schuhmacher and Tina Kok.

“Not so bad!” said Roschmann about his race. “Tina spun just ahead of the stops, and that’s what gave me the lead.”

At the start, d’Ansembourg got away cleanly to lead Cantillon and Newton but Ditting had got ahead of Frieser’s ORECA, with Mathai up next. On lap 2, however, Frieser got back up to fourth to let Ditting drop back into Mathai’s clutches, the two Aston Martins indeed swapping places on lap 4.

Ten minutes into the race, Cantillon was keeping d’Ansembourg honest, the Pescarolo never further away than half a second. Newton ran a lonely third, 10 second down on the leading pair but 12 seconds clear of class rival Frieser. Behind Mathai and Ditting, Timo Scheibner in the second invitational Vantage V12 GT3 was having a fight with Tina Kok’s Ferrari 458 GTE, Kok leaping ahead on lap 2 but losing the place on the next tour. Similarly, Dominik Roschmann in the 458 GTC was fighting Ulrich Schuhmacher in another 458 GTE, the former getting past on lap 3.

Meanwhile at the front, Cantillon had powered past d’Ansembourg and promptly began setting fastest laps of the race. On lap 9, the Pescarolo held a three-second lead on the Lola-Aston Martin. Newton was now trailing by 26 seconds and saw Frieser narrow down his deficit from 12 to six seconds on lap 10. Mathai was alone in fifth, as Ditting had to make an unscheduled stop to resume in tenth, and was soon back in again. Kok was now the effective leader in the GT class.

On lap 11, Cantillon came into the pits for his mandatory stop, d’Ansembourg following him on the next lap, joined by Newton. On lap 13, Frieser was the last of the frontrunners to pit. After the stops had panned out, d’Ansembourg was back in the lead and setting fastest lap times, while Frieser had pipped Newton at the stops. Scheibner and Mathai were fifth and sixth in their GT3 Astons, but the order in the fight for GT class glory had significantly changed – now Roschmann was leading ahead of Schuhmacher and Kok. Peter Schleifer in the Norma M2000-2 had moved up into the top-ten.

With ten minutes still remaining, the fight was still on, as Cantillon began closing on the leader again, having cut d’Ansembourg’s advantage to three seconds. Frieser nursed a five-second gap to Newton, but that was coming down too. Five minutes later, it was game on, Cantillon now within a second of the Belgian in the lead while Newton had closed to within two seconds.

In the dying minutes, however, Newton’s MG-Lola came crawling into the pits, prematurely deciding the P2 lead battle. He would still be classified fourth ahead of all the GTs. At the front, d’Ansembourg just held on for the win, as seven tenths were all that remained of his lead. In third, Frieser finished 1.11 down on the victorious Lola-Aston.

In GTs, the order remained almost unchanged until the chequered flags, the two V12 Astons of Mathai and Scheibner running home fifth and sixth, with Mathai passing his countryman two laps from the end. Both GT3 machines were ineligible for GT prizes, so it was Dominik Roschmann whose Ferrari 458 GTC took the spoils, with the 458 GTEs of Schuhmacher and Kok taking second and third in class.

Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends – Race 2
D’Ansembourg doubles up at the ‘Ring with second Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends win

Christophe d’Ansembourg made it two out of two at the Oldtimer Grand Prix event by also winning the second Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends race at the Nürburgring. The Belgian was chased to the line by Mike Cantillon whose Pescarolo-Judd 01 cut a 24-second deficit after the stops to half a second at the chequered flag.

“Mike was driving hard in the beginning, but I was holding him”, said d’Ansembourg. “I think I pitted at the right moment with the safety car [just ahead of the pit window]. Afterwards I just had to manage, there was no reason to take any risks. So with the backmarkers, I really waited to be sure – I really didn’t want to trip over one of them like I did at Silverstone.”

Mike Newton won a tense P2-class fight with Keith Frieser, his MG-Lola EX257 crossing the line four tenths ahead of the Canadian’s ORECA-Nissan 03, the pair having swapped places twice during the race.

“It was a good battle all the way through, Keith is a great driver to drive against”, said Newton. “He got the drop on me at the pitstops but I got him straight back. Then I managed the gap as far as traffic would allow me to…”

The GT class saw a storming drive from the back of the grid by Nikolaus Ditting to finish fifth overall in his Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 machine. Denmark’s Tina Kok took a strong second place in class with her Ferrari 458 GTE, while Marc Devis grabbed third in his Porsche 996 GT3 RS.

“It was only my second time in the car, so I’m really happy to be on the podium”, said a delighted Devis. “I enjoyed it very much, it was fun!”

The first ten minutes of the race were about d’Ansembourg’s being unable to shake off Cantillon, who kept within a second of the Belgian, and about Mike Newton catching and passing Frieser for third on lap 2. Among the GTs, Marco Werner was out on his own in Oliver Mathai’s Aston GT3 but the big drive came from Nikolaus Ditting bouncing back from his retirement in race one to storm up to sixth place in the space within two laps. Meanwhile, race one GT winner Dominik Roschmann was the first retirement of the race, the German returning his Ferrari 430 GTC to the pits at the end of lap 2.

Behind Ditting, a fierce Ferrari fight had been developing on between Ulrich Schuhmacher (458 GTE) and Tina Kok (458 GTE), the Danish lady driver making her way past the German on lap 3. All the while, Alexander Lienau in the second Vantage GT3 and Marc Devis in the Porsche 996 GT3 RS were right on Schuhmacher’s tail.

The four-way GT battle came to grief on lap 7 when Schuhmacher and Lienau tangled, requiring the dispatch of the safety car just minutes ahead of the pit window. This logically meant that all the leaders came in at the first opportunity. D’Ansembourg profited hugely, now leading the Pescarolo by 24 seconds, the Irishman in fact now hounded by the two P2 machines of Frieser (who like in race one had jumped his rival at the stops) and Newton. Ditting had moved up into fifth to lead the GT class ahead of Kok, Mathai in the Vantage started by Werner, Devis and Lienau, who had got his Vantage going again after his contact with Schuhmacher.

“Behind the safety car, I had to sit behind a slower backmarker. There was nothing I could do”, Cantillon told about the 20 seconds he lost ahead of the stops.

While d’Ansembourg set fastest lap, Cantillon momentarily dropped behind the charging Newton who had also dealt with Frieser, but the Irishman was soon past the MG-Lola again to beat d’Ansembourg’s fastest lap time. 22 seconds down on the Belgian, there was not much more that he could do, though. Behind the prototypes, Ditting had spun away his GT lead, the German now chasing Kok and Mathai. On lap 14, the DBR9 repassed Mathai’s Vantage and then set off afther Kok who was still six seconds up the road. Devis was a safe third in class behind the invitational Vantage, a long way ahead of Franz Wunderlich’s Aston Martin Vantage GT2 and the Olaf Manthey/Ralf Bahr Porsche 993 RSR.

At the front, d’Ansembourg set about managing his lead to Cantillon while Newton eased away from Frieser by a few tenths each lap. On lap 17, Ditting was back up in fifth, helped by a spin by Kok, who was now trailing Mathai again. Having been repassed by Kok, Mathai was soon into the pits, though, handing the place to Devis, who was in turn chased by Peter Scheifer’s Norma M2000-2.

“I had a really nice race”, said Kok, “and the spin was for the audience!”

As the chequered flag dropped, d’Ansembourg won by half a second from the madly chasing Cantillon. Similarly, Newton kept just four tenths in hand on Frieser. Ditting took fifth overall and the GT class win, ahead of Kok and Devis.

After the race, it transpired that Cantillon had finished the race with a broken wheel rim. “I was going into turn 1, a Ferrari was on the left, I was going superfast. It was nobody’s fault, but we touched”, the Irishman explained.

Masters Gentlemen Drivers
Thomas & Wolfe beat Pastorelli to Masters Gentlemen Drivers win at the ‘Ring

Julian Thomas and his ‘supersub’ team mate Andy Wolfe fought off a race-long challenge by Nicky Pastorelli’s Ferrari 250 GTO/64 to win a thrilling Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at the Oldtimer Grand Prix event. The rival Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé of Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield finished third, ahead of local heroes Christopher Stahl and Oliver Mathai in their TVR Griffith.

“He was like a bloody rash, I just couldn’t get rid of him!” quipped Wolfe. “Every time I got away, backmarkers would get in the way, and then it would start all over again. A couple of times I think he was saving his brakes or tyres, but then he came back at me. But it was nice to have a good race. Nicky’s a good driver and you trust him all the time, that’s the most important thing.”

The winning Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé led the entire race, save for a short spell after the stops, as both Thomas and Wolfe failed to succumb to fierce pressure from Pastorelli’s Ferrari. Meanwhile, Nicolaj Kjaergaard looked to have cornered the CLP class win by taking fifth overall in his Lotus Elan, the Dane having passed the ailing Rob Fenn/Jake Hill Elan with 20 minutes to go. In post-race scrutineering, however, a non-conformity showed up in Kjaergaard’s Elan. This gave Fenn and Hill the class win after all, ahead of Mark Martin’s Elan and German Malte Müller-Wrede’s Marcos 1800 GT.

“That was a great race”, said Pastorelli. “I usually hate finishing in second place, but I loved this! No, I didn’t have quite the pace to pass him, I think. I got close a couple of times but he was quick enough to pull away again every time.”

Ten minutes into the race, Julian Thomas had Pastorelli all over his back, the Dutchman having got the drop on Voyazides at the start. The Greek subsequently lost places to Christopher Stahl and Jake Hill too, but then maintained his fifth place ahead of Joaquin Folch’s E-type and Nicolaj Kjaergaarrd, the Dane chasing Hill in the CLP class. The German Bizzarrini 5300 GT of Leon Ebeling ran eighth, ahead of Mark Martin’s Elan (third in the CLP class) and Didier Gruau’s Cobra.

In C2, Billy Bellinger in the Morgan SLR led Mark Pangborn’s Austin Healey, Pangborn having passed the fellow Healey of Swede Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus. The battle of the 911s in C1 was raging hard, Uwe Bruschnik five seconds ahead of Pablo Briones who in turn had three seconds in hand on the private battle between Peter Tognola’s 911 and Christian Ondrak in the Alfa Giulietta S2.

With 20 minutes gone, lapping one and a half second quicker than Stahl’s pursuing TVR, Thomas and Pastorelli had opened up a gap of 12 seconds, the Dutchman himself having dropped two seconds on Thomas due to traffic. Hill was keeping Stahl honest in fourth, while Voyazides’ deficit had grown to 37 seconds. The Greek now had Kjaergaard’s Elan breathing down his neck, as on lap 6 the Dane has passed Folch for sixth. Ebeling was still eighth while Martin and Gruau kept on warring over ninth, now a full minute behind the leading Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé.

Bellinger’s lead over Pangborn in the C2 class had meanwhile amassed to 43 seconds, with Nyblaeus a further 19 seconds down. In the B2-class Jaguar E-type, John Burton starred by keeping ahead of the Swede. In C1, the top three Porsches continued in the same order, Bruschnik leading Briones and Tognola.

At the half-hour mark, Thomas had eased out to a 3.5-second lead over Pastorelli – the ‘gentleman driver’ of the Thomas/Wolfe pairing was really on it. Not letting go, the leader kept on pounding in the purple sector times. Stahl was now 19 seconds in arrears, still chased by Hill. Voyazides – still with Kjaergaard challenging him – had 50 seconds to cover to Thomas, while Folch had dropped seven seconds on the duo. Meanwhile, Ebeling was penalised with a stop-and-go for a jumped start, the Bizzarrini losing five places in the process.

“Not good”, Voyazides said afterwards, looking back on his stint. “This circuit doesn’t suit me. Even though we won here in the Lola last year, I’ve never done well here.”

Miraculously, all 30 cars were still in the race – but that changed when the Austin Healey of Lars von Wedel lost a wheel at the chicane and slid into the gravel trap. The loose wheel remained right in the middle of the track, and the need for its recovery led to a safety car just three minutes shy of the pit window… It was no surprise that the entire field came pouring into the pits at the first opportunity.

The pit window closed with the safety car still out. With their shorter stop time, the Elans suddenly featured in the top-five. Fenn (having taken over from Hill) led from Andy Wolfe (subbing for Calum Lockie in Thomas’ Cobra Daytona), Pastorelli, Kjaergaard, Martin and Gruau. Oliver Mathai in Stahl’s Griffith was seventh, ahead of Simon Hadfield in the Daytona Cobra started by Voyazides, and Nick Padmore who had taken over from Folch in the E-type. Nikolaus Ditting’s E-type rounded out the top-ten.

At the green, Wolfe and Pastorelli soon swept back into the two front-running positions, with the Ferrari going on the attack and even taking the lead momentarily before Wolfe got him back. Towards the one-hour mark, the fight continued unabated, the Dutchman chasing Wolfe hard. Behind them, Fenn was slowly losing ground on Kjaergaard, a former CLP-class winner at the ‘Ring, while Martin spun away fifth. Mathai took over the place but Hadfield was closing fast on the German, the pair now leading Gruau (who was facing a 30-second time penalty for crossing the white line at pitlane exit), Martin and Padmore.

“I couldn’t catch second place, but was trying hard”, said Martin. “After the safety car I got bunched up by a couple of E-types, and just couldn’t get past. And then I had a bit of moment while trying to pass one of them…”

In C2, Keith Ahlers in the Morgan SLR had 19 seconds in hand on Pangborn, with Jeremy Welch in third in the Healey started by Nyblaeus. However, when Pangborn spun, Welch was there to snap up the place. Further back, Tognola had taken the C1-class lead, having passed Robert Haug in Bruschnik’s 911 and Klaus Horn in the 911 shared with Pablo Briones.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Wolfe was inching away from Pastorelli but 36 seconds down the road it was all change, as Kjaergaard had caught and passed Fenn, while Hadfield caught and passed both of them! Mathai, meanwhile has hunched up to the back of Fenn’s Elan too, and was passed on lap 31, Fenn losing three places in the space of two laps. Then Mathai also moved past Kjaergaard to snatch fourth.

“The clutch was going”, Fenn said about losing pace. “It got progressively worse. At the end, I just kept it in third gear, and just cruised around…”

It wasn’t over at the front, though, as the Ferrari pushed for one final attack. Pastorelli gave it a try in the first and second corner but Wolfe fought off the challenge and pulled out a gap that was good enough until the chequered flag. Hadfield finished a distant third, followed by Mathai, Kjaergaard, Fenn and Martin. After the race, however, Kjaergaard lost his class win when his Elan failed post-race scrutineering. This elevated Malte Müller-Wrede’s Marcos 1800 GT to third place in class. The C2 and C1 wins went to Ahlers/Bellinger and Peter Tognola respectively.

Masters Racing Legends for F1 cars 66/85 – Race 1
Stretton holds off Cantillon for win in first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Nürburgring

Martin Stretton led from lights to flag to win the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Nürburgring but the Tyrrell 012 driver was made to work hard for it. Beating pole man Matteo Ferrer-Aza (Ligier JS11/15) off the line, Stretton soon had Mike Cantillon’s Williams FW07C to deal with. Despite being plagued by a loose front wing, the Irishman closed to six tenths at the chequered flag but Stretton had him covered.

“Yes, I had him covered but I had to work harder and harder for it”, said Stretton. “The back end was getting loose, like at Silverstone, and it’s not the tyres, so we’ll have to look into that. It was all about not making mistakes.”

“I really had a go for the win”, said Cantillon, “but he didn’t make any mistakes. The wobbly front wing was giving me a lot of understeer into the first turn. In the second part of the race I pushed again, had another go, but he had the pace. Still, I’m thrilled to be second, we’ll try again tomorrow!”

Ferrer dropped out from third as his Ligier lost a wheel 11 laps into the race, handing the final podium spot to Jamie Constable in the Tyrrell 011. Christophe d’Ansembourg put in a storming race in his Williams FW07C to claim fourth from the fifth row of the grid.

“I never had enough pace to catch Matteo”, said Constable. “He very kindly gave me third place. I got old tyres on, and the car was really vibrating. Tomorrow I will have a fresh set of tyres, so I’m really hoping for that one.”

Henry Fletcher (March 761) kept with the post-78 cars in the first half of the race but then dropped to seventh overall, which was enough to still win the pre-78 class from Jason Wright (Shadow DN8).

“I was pushing hard in the beginning”, said Fletcher about initially keeping with the front-runners. “But then I thought, what’s the point? I had the pace to be quicker but I wanted to save the tyres for tomorrow. I’ll start P2 on the grid, so perfect, job done!”

“Jamie [Constable] sort of spun into the first turn”, said Wright, “and Henry and I both had to brake hard to miss him. I had to brake a bit harder than him, and then Joaquin and Christophe passed me – and Henry was off! I really tried but we always had cars in between us. You get quite a workout here – I did two quick laps, and I was like aaah…”

At the start, Stretton got the jump on Ferrer-Aza, as Cantillon pipped Fletcher into the first corner. Constable remained in fifth, ahead of Folch, but Christophe d’Ansembourg was on his way up, passing Wright and Holtzman to be seventh after one lap.

Two laps down, Stretton was easing away from Ferrer who was busy bealing with the attentions of Cantillon’s Williams FW07C that just like at Silverstone was dealing with a wobbly front wing. It didn’t stop the Irishman to take second into the first corner. Behind them, Constable had passed Fletcher for fourth, but the March 761 was still comfortably leading the pre-78 class. Two seconds further down the road, meanwhile, d’Ansembourg had deposed Folch from sixth place.

On lap 5, the Belgian continued his march up the ranks, now also passing Fletcher for fifth, but he was now trailing Constable by six seconds. At the front, Cantillon was closing on Stretton with six tenths a lap, with Ferrer already in conservation mode in third, having started with an engine that needed saving. The fight looked to be on between Stretton and Cantillon but at the point the Williams had got the gap down to 1.8 seconds, the leader began matching its lap times.

Further back, Jonathan Holtzman (Lotus 87) had taken sixth from Fletcher, who now only had Folch between himself and his pre-78 class rival Jason Wright in the Shadow DN8. Further back, Georg Hallau in the second-placed post-83 Theodore N183 led Austrian Franz Guggemos whose Hill GH2 was third in the pre-78 class.

Ten laps gone, and with seven minutes still to go, Cantillon decided on a final push, chipping away at Stretton’s lead once more, getting it down to 1.1 seconds on lap 11. At the same time, and dramatically so, Matteo Ferrer was seen parking a Ligier JS11/15 that had lost its left rear wheel… This meant that Constable took up third place, 20 seconds down, with d’Ansembourg in fourth, Holtzman in fifth and Folch now up into sixth, the Catalan having passed Fletcher, who was now six seconds ahead of class rival Wright.

With two minutes to go, Stretton’s lead was getting marginal as Cantillon got within a second. Into the 16th and final lap, eight tenths were all that were in it, but the Tyrrell had the Williams covered. Stretton won by six tenths, with Constable a distant third, 25 seconds down on the leaders. D’Ansembourg’s storming race was rewarded with fourth, ahead of Holtzman and Folch. Fletcher kept those six seconds on Wright in hand to win the pre-78 class. Right at the end, Michel Baudoin in the Hesketh 308E pipped Guggemos to third in class.

Masters Racing Legends for F1 cars 66/85 – Race 2
Stretton takes second win of the weekend in eventful FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Nürburgring

From eighth on the grid, Martin Stretton stormed his way to the front to also win the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Nürburgring. The Tyrrell 012 driver hit the front on lap 7, passing Jonathan Holtzman’s Lotus 87B and Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011, the pair tangling on the penultimate lap to hand second place to Matteo Ferrer-Aza’s Ligier JS11/15.

“A hard-work race”, said Stretton. “I’m not necessarily a fan of the reversed grid – there was lots of contact going on behind me! – but it was a good one to win.”

In fourth, Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49 took the final post-78 podium spot.

“We need to change the car and get rid of the six-speed gearbox. It wasn’t working for me, they all kept coming past”, said Folch about the early stages that saw him lose many positions. “And the last part was really demanding. I saw Cantillon spinning, Constable spinning… and then I thought: wow, I’m third in class!”

In an eventful race twice interrupted by safety cars, Henry Fletcher held on to the lead for six laps to drop five places on one lap, but still took third overall (and a second pre-78 class win of the weekend) in his March 761.

“Yes, it was quite eventful! Shame about the safety cars…” said Fletcher. “At one moment I ran a bit wide and then I let them all go. There was no use in holding them all up. But third overall is great, I’m very happy with that.”

Having started from pole, Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) ran second early on and salvaged fifth overall and second place in the pre-78 class, heading home the two local heroes –Harald Becker’s Arrows A3 and Georg Hallau’s Theodore N183. Austrian Franz Guggemos took third in the pre-78 by finishing ninth overall in his Hill GH2.

The opening lap saw Fletcher snatch the lead from pole-sitter Jason Wright while Jamie Constable’s attempt to pass Christophe d’Ansembourg into the final corner ended in the Belgian spinning his Williams FW07C around. As the car remained stationed on the exit of the corner, the safety car had to be called. In the meantime, Holtzman Constable had made their way past Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49 that initially ran third, while Stretton had passed Cantillon on his way up, with Ferrer-Aza coming up from the back to join the two, followed by Georg Hallau’s Theodore N183 and Harald Becker’s Arrows A3, the latter entering the top-ten

The green flag was waved at the end of lap 4, and Stretton immediately blasted past Folch to take fifth while Wright dropped down the order to see Holtzman, Constable, Stretton, Cantillon, Folch and Ferrer all fly past. Two laps gone, Fletcher was now really feeling the pressure from Holtzman who in turn was pushed by Stretton, the Tyrrell 012 also having dealt with Constable’s Tyrrell 011. On the next lap, Fletcher cracked, and four post-78 cars all came storming past, Stretton in the process removing Holtzman from the lead.

So at the end of lap 7, Stretton was in front, with Holtzman holding up Constable and Cantilllon, but Constable made it up into third before lap 8 was completed. On the next lap, though, the American fought back to reclaim second place. Cantillon was still fourth, but then spun and stalled at the first turn – requiring the dispatch of another safety car. This handed Ferrer fourth place, the Italian having past Fletcher on lap 8. Next up, but seven seconds down, Folch was chased by Wright, with local heroes Becker and Hallau over half a minute behind in P8 and P9. Bruno Ferrari’s Merzario A3 was in tenth, ahead of Franz Guggemos’ Hill GH2 that was holding third place in the pre-78 class.

“The race was good”, said Guggemos, “but I lost the brakes. I was lucky with the safety car. That allowed me to pump the brakes and then they came back!”

With one and a minute still on the clock, the green flag was waved. Stretton was safe out in front, driving to a second win of the weekend, but when Constable tried a move on Holtzman in the Michelin-Kurve the pair tangled to lose their podium spots. Ferrer-Aza and Fletcher inherited second and third, Fletcher bagging another pre-78 win, while Folch claimed the final post-78 podium spot. Wright was fifth – and second in the pre-78 class, with third in class going to Guggemos in ninth overall.

“A lucky race”, said Ferrer-Aza, the result having been what he needed for his championship. “I didn’t have the pace but it’s great to end on a high!”

Masters Sports Car Legends
Wright & Wolfe rumble to FIA Masters Historic Sports Car win at the ‘Ring

Jason Wright and Andy Wolfe (Lola T70 Mk3B) won from the front to grab FIA Masters Historic Sports Car glory at the ‘Ring, but had to deal with strong opposition from Michael Gans. The American’s Lola T290 had overtaken Wright just before the pit window and stayed out long to create a five-second gap to Wright’s team mate Wolfe. Once settled in, Wolfe reclaimed the lead on lap 21 to win by 14 seconds from Gans.

“It was quite tough”, said Wolfe about fighting Gans. “He’s a team mate and a great customer, so I couldn’t afford a mistake – and he’s quite tough in defending his place! And then Simon [Hadfield] running in between us with a lap down made it even more complicated… But it’s a good weekend for the team – I think we won almost everything!”

After a race-long fight with Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1, Henry Fletcher took third in the Chevron B26, while Marc Devis took fifth in the McLaren M8C. The Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield challenge suffered from a puncture for the Greek but from a lap down Hadfield fought back to claim sixth – back on the lead lap, and with fastest lap of the race. They all moved up one place when after the race Gans was excluded from the results.

“We had a misfire on the outlap, it wouldn’t run at all. It cleared on the green-flag lap, but it wasn’t a great start”, said Fletcher. “It was a good battle but with some aggressive driving going on. I was pleased with the way I drove, though, especially in the second part of the race when the race got into a rhythm. I got my head down, I could see Manfredo in front of me. Then he made a mistake and I got past, and after that he gave up.”

Despite some serious first-lap setbacks, Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing (Cooper Monaco T61M) won the pre-66 Hulme class, their work made easier by Keith Ahlers beaching his Cooper Monaco King Cobra in the chicane’s gravel trap early on. The Mark Shaw/Chris Drake McLaren M1B featured in the opening stages but in the end dropped behind Richard McAlpine’s similar car.

“On the first lap, I went through the gravel, and it punched the radiator – I had fluid all over my visor and couldn’t see a thing!” said Jolly about his troubled start to the race. “But we finished! After I saw Keith in the gravel trap it was just a question of keeping it going and seeing what happens.”

From the start, a five-car lead group soon separated itself from Marc Devis’ McLaren M8C in sixth. Leo Voyazides had blasted straight into the lead – but did he jump the start – and was followed by Wright, Rossi, Gans and Fletcher. Wright stole back first place but outbraking Voyazides into turn 1 at the start of lap 2, while Gans nipped past Rossi. On the next lap, Fletcher passed the Italian as well, as the three open-top prototypes kept on harrying Voyazides in second.

The Greek succumbed to Gans’ pressure on lap 3, Fletcher also nipping past, but then the safety car was out. At the chicane, Keith Ahlers’ Cooper Monaco King Cobra had ended up in the gravel trap, handing the pre-66 Hulme-class initiative to Mark Shaw in the McLaren M1B, now running in ninth overall. Seventh, meanwhile, was Mark Owen in the Chevron B8, the younger Owen handsomely leading the Bonnier class – and helped by Julian Thomas’ similar B8 needing to visit the pits on lap 3 and dropping down to last on the road. Frank Jacob’s Lola T212 was eighth overall, John Sheldon’s Chevron B16 led the Siffert class in tenth overall.

The race was on its way again on lap 8 – and Voyazides outbraked himself into turn 1, to lose two more places to Rossi and Devis. At the front, Wright was chased by his friend Gans, with Rossi keeping a watchful eye in third. Voyazides, meanwhile, was in the wars, spinning on the exit of the chicane and returning to the pits for a check-up, where a puncture was found to be the root of the problem. The Greek returned one lap down.

In the pre-66 class, Shaw was coming under increased pressure from Martin O’Connell guesting in Wolf Zweifler’s Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder, even though the pair were stlll split by Jacob’s Lola T212, but another safety car spoiled the fun for now – Nicky Pastorelli had spun his Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona into the gravel on the exit of the Mercedes Arena. Just ahead of that, however, Gans had overtaken Wright for the lead.

The safety-car period continued into the pit window, but it was a tough choice: the green flag was waved right at the moment the cars came back for their first opportunity to pit. Gans chose to stay out, but Wright, Rossi, Fletcher and Devis all came in, Wright handing over to Andy Wolfe. The same applied to Bonnier-class leader Mark Owen, who was relieved by father Andrew, and to Hulme-class leader Mark Shaw, who handed the McLaren to Chris Drake.

Meanwhile, finally freed from his pursuers, Gans put in the fastest lap of the race, now followed by Siffert-class leader Sheldon, 30 seconds further down the road. Richard McAlpine in the other McLaren M1B in the race was another non-stopper for now and took up third. Rossi was fourth, having jumped the Wright/Wolfe Lola at the stops, with Fletcher and Devis up next. A lap down, Simon Hadfield in the T70 Mk3B started by Voyazides was mixing it with that chasing pack.

The next lap, Gans was in too, along with Sheldon, while McAlpine took the last possible opportunity, with few seconds of the pit window still remaining. The order shaking out on lap 17, Gans was still in the lead, five seconds up on Wolfe, who was chased by Rossi and Fletcher. In a lonely fifth place, Devis trailed the leader by 24 seconds, while John Sheldon had dealt with the two German Lola T212 entries of Johannes Offergeld and Frank Jacob to run a strong sixth overall. A spin for Andrew Owen dropped him down to 12th overall, which meant that Uwe Bruschnik’s Porsche 910 in ninth overall now led the Bonnier class. Rolf Lamberty in the second-placed Siffert-class Chevron B16 was tenth, ahead of the new Hulme-class leader, the Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing Cooper Monaco T61M. On lap 19, Robin Ellis in the B8 started by Thomas also made his way past the troubled Owen & Owen machine.

At the front, Andy Wolfe had settled into a rhythm and was now setting fast laps to close on Gans. In between the pair of them, Hadfield was running even faster, and managed to unlap himself while Gans and Wolfe fought for the lead! The two had dropped Rossi and Fletcher by seven and ten seconds respectively, with Devis still on a island in fifth, as well over 30 seconds down Offergeld had repassed Sheldon for sixth.

On lap 21, it was done – Wolfe had passed Gans, and slowly the small Lola saw the big Lola disappear from sight. Behind them, Fletcher and Rossi had also switched places. While Hadfield continued to make up places, having stormed all the way up to eighth on lap 24, his next place was won in an easy way, as Sheldon’s Chevron B16 slowed on the next lap to lose what looked like a shoo-in Siffert-class win.

When after 30 laps the chequered flag dropped, Wolfe won by 14 seconds from Gans, while in the final laps Fletcher’s gap to Rossi increased to 22 seconds. Devis finished the race in fifth, 1 minute and 22 seconds down on Wolfe, with Hadfield just staying unlapped to take sixth ahead of Offergeld and Jacob. Rossi was promoted to the podium when Gans’ efforts proved in vain, as the American was disqualified two hours after the race.

In ninth overall, Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing (Cooper Monaco T61M) won the pre-66 Hulme class, while Rolf Lamberty inherited the Siffert-class win after Sheldon’s demise. Uwe Bruschnik held on to win the Bonnier class from Thomas/Ellis, but then Bruschnik’s Porsche 910 failed post-race scrutineering, handing the win to Thomas/Ellis after all.