October 12 - 14 2018

Dijon Motors Cup

LOCATION: PRENOIS, NEAR DIJON, BURGUNDY

NEAREST AIRPORT: DOLE-JURA (69KMS); LYON-SAINT EXUPERY (235KMS); GENEVA (211KMS)

October 12 - 14 - 2016

Dijon Motors Cup

LOCATION: PRENOIS, NEAR DIJON, BURGUNDY

NEAREST AIRPORT: DOLE-JURA (69KMS); LYON-SAINT EXUPERY (235KMS); GENEVA (211KMS)

RACE REPORT

The return of Masters to the newly-renovated Dijon-Prenois circuit finished off the 2018 season in style!  Great racing, blue skies and some some social fun on the side!  A Masters season would not be complete without a trip to France and our season’s champions were crowned in style!

 


Ferrer takes FIA Masters Historic Formula One win after close battle with Cantillon

Matteo Ferrer (Ligier JS11/15) won the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race of the Dijon Motors Cup weekend, even though he crossed the line in second, following hot on the heels of on-the-road winner Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) after a race-long fight. However, when Cantillon was docked 30 seconds for passing the Italian before the startline on a safety-car restart halfway into the race, Ferrer was declared the winner.

"I think he just pipped me before the startline”, said Ferrer. “I wasn’t sure so I kept on fighting intially. It was a hard race but a good race. It’s not the way you want to win, crossing the line in second, but I’ll take it. We had some good dicing!"

The pair fought tooth and nail for the win, exchanging the lead on four occasions. Having hounded polesitter Cantillon from the start, Ferrer found a way past on lap 3 and hung on to a narrow lead until the safety car came out on lap 7 in order for the marshals to be able to retrieve Mark Hazell’s stricken Williams FW07, which was stranded at the pitlane entry.

At the restart, Cantillon was wide awake and got the drop on his rival, only to pass him just yards shy of the startline. For this, he was handed a drivethrough penalty but this was converted into a 30-second time penalty when the Briton failed to adhere to the initial penalty. Ferrer retook the lead on lap 11 but Cantillon was back in front on lap 15. It was all for nothing as the post-race penalty dropped him down to fourth.

In third and fourth – which became second and third once Cantillon’s penalty was applied – Steve Brooks (Lotus 81) and Jamie Constable (Tyrrell 011) provided the French crowd with similar spectacle, the two also swapping places before Brooks finally settled the matter. Constable also used the safety-car restart to find a way past his opponent but on lap 15 Brooks took the place back.

"We had such a good fight”, said Brooks. “I would get him on the straight, and he would get me back in the corner."

"He made a mistake after the restart”, said Constable about passing Brooks. “After that I was hanging on for dear life, but he still got me. It was good clean fun!"

Jonathan Holtzman was a lonely fifth in the Lotus 87B, having passed pre-78 class leader Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) on lap 3. In sixth overall, Wright still won the pre-78 class but the American was limping home with gearbox issues and only narrowly stayed ahead of the fast arriving Christian Perrier (ATS HS01).

“One more lap and he would have got me”, said Wright, “I was jumping out of fifth gear all the time, and was doing 9000 rpm on the straight…”

“It was very slippery out there”, said Perrier, showing a helmet covered in oil. “I had great fights with three cars, so it was a good race.”

Perrier had dealt with Keith Frieser’s Shadow DN1 on lap 2 and had to make his way past Georg Hallau’s Theodore N183 in order to be able to challenge Wright’s class lead. In Hallau’s wake, Frieser held on to third in class.

“He was right on me”, said Frieser about losing the place to Perrier, “but then I missed a shift coming onto the straight.”

Cantillon takes back-to-front win in final FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Dijon

 

From the rear of the grid, Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) charged up the order to win the final FIA Masters Historic Formula One of the season at Dijon. Cantillon moved into the lead on lap 5, and opened up a five-second gap to Steve Brooks (Lotus 81) at the chequered flag.

"What happened yesterday was a shame”, said Cantillon about his misdemeanour in the first F1 race of the weekend that dropped him to the back of the grid. “So I totally wanted this badly! I was driving my heart out in the car, it’s just a great way to end the European season on a high."

Brooks moved up into second place on lap 13, right after a safety-car period called for Georg Hallau’s Theodore N183 getting stuck in the turn 1 gravel. Brooks did so by passing Jonathan Holtzman (Lotus 87B) who then lost third place to Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 two laps from the end. Constable could have been second had he not taken the drivethrough penalty intended for Matteo Ferrer – in fact, both cars took the penalty on the same lap, driving through the pits in close order! The Italian was a favourite for the win but a couple of errors and the drivethrough dropped him down to fifth at the end.

"Yes, I had some work!” said Brooks about his eventful race. “To come from seventh to second really, really pleases me. The pass on Jonathan [Holtzman] was brilliant, he drove very well."

"At least it was fun!” Constable said about his race following his gaffe. “When I saw Ferrer behind me in the pitlane I thought, ‘I can’t believe that he got one as well! You know, you rush past it, I just saw the 2 and the 6…"

Having run as high as second initially, Wright consolidated a pre-78 class lead in sixth overall, with Mark Hazell’s Williams FW07 as a buffer to his nearest rival Perrier and Frieser. Perrier was slowing into the final lap, though, and Frieser was through to claim second place in class. Brad Hoyt in the Hill GH1 also profited from Perrier’s mishap to take third place in class.

“I had a good race with [Hallau in] the Café de Colombia car for a while”, said Wright, “but then he went off quite spectacularly…”

“I chased the ATS all race long”, said Frieser about fighting with Perrier. “That was great! And then he ran into trouble on the final lap…”

"I think he thought the race was over as he just lifted at the end of the straight”, Hoyt said about overtaking Perrier right at the end, and then found a good explanation for Wright beating him and Frieser to the class win. “It’s just because you’re younger and better-looking than us!"

A topsy-turvy opening phase due to the reversed grid for Saturday’s top-eight saw front-Georg Hallau lead initially, as poleman Christian Perrier bogged down and was swamped by Wright. In two laps, however, Ferrer was up into second place but a failed pass on the leading Theodore saw the Ligier drop down to seventh place.

Cantillon quickly took over Ferrer’s mantle as Hallau’s closest challenger, the Williams driver charging up from the back to be sixth on lap 2, third on lap 3 and second on lap 4. Meanwhile, Jonathan Holtzman passed Hallau for first place, and Cantillon needed two more laps to oust the American from the lead. Hallau then plummeted down the order and ended up in the gravel trap at turn 1, bringing out the safety car on lap 9.

When the field was released, Holtzman was still Cantillon’s main challenger, but Steve Brooks soon removed him from second place, as the pair were chased by Constable and Ferrer, both having come in for a drivethrough. Ferrer’s penalty was for a start infringement but Constable hadn’t been called in at all! So after Simon Hadfield in the Masters Gentlemen Drivers race, Constable was the second driver this weekend to come in for a penalty that wasn’t his…

Ferrer then made another mistake, dropping eight seconds on Constable, while in front Cantillon had pulled out a 5-second lead on Brooks, Holtzman and Constable. On lap 16, Constable deposed Holtzman from third, thereby finalising the post-78 podium, with Cantillon on the top step flanked by Brooks and Constable.

Voyazides/Hadfield end season on a high with FIA Masters Historic Sports Car win at Dijon

 

Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield took a fairly straightforward lights-to-flag win in the final FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race of the season at Dijon. The pair never looked back as Voyazides led from the start, although harried by Jason Wright in a similar Lola-Chevrolet T70 Mk3B. When Hadfield took over he opened up a 29-second gap on Wright’s team mate for the occasion, Manfredo Rossi.

"He had better used tyres”, said Voyazides about being chased by Wright, “and they took some time to get in. So after the safety car he was right behind me!"

“No dramas”, said Hadfield about his stint. “Everything was spot on, this win is good to have. It’s not as exciting though! A Sunday stroll in the park? No, it didn’t quite feel that way in the car…”

Rossi held Martin O’Connell (in the white Sidney Taylor Racing T70 Mk3B started by Steve Brooks) to five seconds at the end, with Alexander Furiani taking fourth in Marc Devis’ Chevron B19 and the Belgian following his own car home in fifth, himself driving a Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder. Mike Donovan looked set to make it a Lola T70 Mk3B 1-2-3-4 but retired on the final lap.

"It was superfun!” said Rossi about his first experience with the big Lola, having been forced to withdraw his Osella-Abarth PA1 from the meeting. “It’s very progressive so actually it’s more relaxing than the Osella!"

“The first safety car allowed me to catch up”, said Wright, “and then my tyres were better. We pretty much did the same times. Too bad I didn’t give Manfredo the perfect car.”

"Yes, I spun off at the back of the circuit”, said Brooks about dropping down to 12th on the second lap. “It was hard work to get back where I should have been. Martin did a great job to get the car back up into its deserved place. It was fantastic to get this car running again. It has great history and it’s just wonderful to drive."

From start to lap 6 when the safety car was deployed for the first time, the first four remained in unchanged order, Voyazides pulling out a 6-second gap on Wright who was chased hard by Alex Furiani in the Chevron B19 on loan from Marc Devis. The Belgian himself was fifth in his Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder, with Donovan further up the road in fourth in another T70 Mk3B. Devis had passed Mike Wrigley’s B19 on lap 2, and then by Gonçalo Gomes in the Lola T212, but the Portuguese was the cause of the caution period called on lap 6 

After the restart, the top order stayed the same but now Wright was on it, leaving Furiani behind and keeping Voyazides at a lead of under a second. Donovan, meanwhile, dropped from fourth to 14th with a restart error. This elevated Devis into fourth and Steve Brooks in another T70 Mk3B into fifth. On lap 2, Brooks had spun sixth place away but in six laps he was back into the same position.

As the pit window neared, Wright was still sticking to his Greek rival’s gearbox, Furiani trailing the pair by 7 seconds, with Devis a further 8 ticks behind. Voyazides was the first to come in for his driver change with team mate Hadfield, along with Mike Wrigley who handed his B19 to son Matt. Donovan, meanwhile, had made his way back up to fifth. One lap later, Wright came in to hand his T70 Mk3B to his team mate for this occasion, Manfredo Rossi.

The Italian took to the track 2 seconds in arrears of Hadfield but the João Paulo Campos Costa/Alexandre Beirão GRD S72 ending up in the gravel in turn 1 on lap 20 reduced that to almost zero, as the safety car was deployed for the second time after Beirão went off right after taking over from his Portuguese countryman.

Furiani and Devis were still to pit but could not take advantage of the situation, Furiani delayed even further when he along with Andrew Owen in one of the Chevron B8s was held at the end of the pitlane. This dropped the German down to fifth behind Devis and Martin O’Connell who had taken over from Steve Brooks and moved into third on lap 23 to make it a T70 Mk3B 1-2-3.

In the next ten minutes, Hadfield put 8 seconds in between himself and Rossi, while O’Connell left Devis behind but failed to make an impact on Rossi, the Italian running similar lap times to the car chasing him. Devis, Donovan and Furiani now formed a close-knit trio of cars, Donovan blasting past the German’s B19 on the straight at the start of lap 28. On lap 30, Donovan was up into fourth, with Furiani following suit into fifth, Devis seemingly struggling for power.

As Hadfield brought it home, ending the 40-lap race with a new fastest lap of the race, O’Connell momentarily closed on Rossi in the dying stages but the Italian then held him at five seconds to claim second for himself and Jason Wright.

At one time running as high as seventh overall, Ross Hyett dominated the Siffert class for Chevron B16 cars, finishing well ahead of Jamie Boot’s similar machine.

In the Chevron B8-dominated Bonnier class, the Julian Thomas/ Calum Lockie pairing equally reigned, winning by a full lap. Paul Ingram ran second in class early on but was forced to pit right after the restart on lap 8. This elevated Frazer Gibney into second until Andrew Owen claimed the place on lap 24. However, Gibney was back into the runner-up spot a couple of laps later, as Owen’s pace dropped away, leaving him powerless to defend from Charles Allison in the B8 started by Peter Thompson.

Wolfe wins Masters Gentlemen Drivers race at Dijon after shock error by Hadfield

Andy Wolfe led from start to finish in the 90-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers race but he would have lost it five minutes before the end had Simon Hadfield not mistakenly thought that the drivethrough penalty issued to car number 6 was intended for him…

The lap before, Hadfield had cut Wolfe’s initial 34-second lead to almost zero before he came in to serve the penalty that wasn’t his. The Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield Shelby Cobra Daytona carries number 2 in Masters Gentlemen Drivers whereas their Lola T70 Mk3B in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship does indeed have starting number 6… Hadfield’s error left Wolfe – who was nursing an ailing AC Cobra home – with an 18-second lead that was ample enough to win the race.

"I can’t hear him, I thought, where is he?” said Wolfe about Hadfield suddenly disappearing. “I was really struggling on the brakes, and then the oil light came on, so I was really nursing it to the finish…

“Now I know!” Hadfield said when told he wasn’t in the number 6 car. “I didn’t want to be blackflagged so better safe than sorry. My right eye is really hurting me, I have so many painkillers I’m struggling to think, let alone remember my starting number…"

In third overall, Dale & Aaron Head won the CLP class in their Lotus Elan, Aaron disappearing into the distance after Dale had had an entertaining lead battle with Andrew Haddon in the Elan that later dropped out with Mark Martin at the wheel. Rob Fenn’s Elan ultimately took second in class after an eventful race that saw Fenn overtake Urs Müller in the final corner when the Swiss driver’s Elan ran dry…

"Dale started the race and led initially, but then he had a spin and dropped back from first place”, said Aaron Head. “When I got in I just kept it as consistent as I could, and brought it around."

“It was entertaining” said Fenn about his eventful race. “I’m dizzy because I spun twice on oil, so I think had to overtake Müller four times! But I’m glad I finished, I had a misfire right from the start.”

“I lost the place at the final corner when I ran out of fuel”, Müller said ruefully. “But it was big fun with fights everywhere!”

The opening phase of the race saw Wolfe quickly take charge to open up a 15-second lead by lap 12, Leo Voyazides keeping a second in hand on Julian Thomas. A few more ticks further down the road, Andrew Haddon and Dale Head were fighting over the CLP class lead in their Elans, with Tom Kimber-Smith in another Elan a further 14 seconds adrift 

With one third (and 19 laps) of the 90-minute race done, Wolfe’s lead over Voyazides and Thomas had increased to 24 seconds, now a mere six tenths separating Wolfe’s pursuers as the Cobra Daytona Coupé and the E-type navigated through traffic. Their fight was over on lap 20, however, Thomas crawling into the pits, the E-type’s fan belt having destroyed itself.

Meanwhile, Charles Allison in the TVR Griffith had fought his way past the Elans of Urs Müller and Rob Fenn, with Serge Kriknoff’s lone A-class Lotus XI holding ninth overall ahead of Jamie Boot’s Griffith. A unschedul. In 19th overall, Caroline Rossi was leading the C2 class in her Austin Healey 3000.

As the pit window opened, Wolfe’s lead was up to 34 seconds, and Voyazides decided to pit at the earliest opportunity on lap 25. Behind them, Martin had eased away from Dale Head, who on lap 26 followed Voyazides’ example to come in and hand over to brother Aaron, as the cars now came pouring in.

Wolfe made his pitstop on lap 28 to return with a massive 34-second lead on Simon Hadfield in Voyazides’ Cobra Daytona Coupé. Mark Martin in the Elan taken over from Andrew Haddon was still in third, ten seconds ahead of Aaron Head, and a further five seconds in hand on Paul Whight. Two more Elans – those of Fenn and Müller – were up next, leading TVR Griffith pair Peter Thompson (having taken over from Allison) and Jamie Boot, who were in the thick of a fight over the final over-2-litre podium spot. Despite an additional unscheduled pitstop, Kriknoff was still in tenth, leading Manfredo Rossi’s Shelby Mustang GT350.

On lap 33, with just over half an hour still to go, CLP class drama ensued as Martin pulled off, the same applying to the Georg Nolte/Andy Newall Bizzarrini 5300 GT that had been in 15th place. Martin’s demise handed the class lead to Aaron Head who was pulling at a rapid rate from Whight, himself caught by both Fenn and Müller, the Swiss getting ahead of Fenn on lap 37.

At the front, Wolfe’s lead had shrunk to 20 seconds but more worryingly, the leader had now been given a final warning for exceeding track limits. Both he and Rob Fenn were now under threat of a drivethrough penalty. With 20 minutes to go, Hadfield was catching the leader at the rate of a second per lap, but fastest lap of the race on lap 44 closed the gap even further. Hadfield was well and truly on it. More fastest race laps brought Hadfield’s deficit down to five seconds with ten minutes still to go. Could this become a repeat of the Nürburgring showdown between the two?

In the CLP class, Aaron was under no threat but both Müller and Fenn had got past Whight on lap 45. Thompson and Boot were still vying for seventh place and third in the C3 class, with Kriknoff in ninth and Rossi in tenth. The Italian’s wife was still consummately leading the C2 class in 14th overall.

In the end, Hadfield didn’t need to leave it until the final lap like at the Nürburgring, his closing rate now up to two seconds per lap – and at the start of lap 50, Hadfield was right on the Cobra’s tail. But shock and horror, the red Cobra Daytona Coupé was into the pits at the end of that lap, and when it returned to the track Wolfe had 20 seconds in hand on it… It was a genuine mistake as the Rick Carlino/Jonathan Lewis Elan had just been handed a drivethrough penalty, a car carrying number 6 – the same starting number Voyazides and Hadfield have on their Lola in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship!

And so, Wolfe’s Cobra crossed the line in first, ahead of the Voyazides/Hadfield Cobra Daytona and the Dale & Aaron Head Elan. As the Heads took the CLP class win, Rob Fenn took second in class when Urs Müller dramatically ran out of fuel in the final corner. Whight finished sixth while Thompson narrowly held off Boot for eighth, and the final spot on the over-2-litre podium.

"It was not relaxing!” Peter Thompson said about his fight with Boot. “I was pretty aware that he was there! He was always close around the back, particularly in the final two laps, but traction saved me – I always able to pull a gap coming onto the straight."

Krikhoff was ninth, and Rossi tenth. Caroline Rossi won C2, while the Roger Whiteside/Richard Thorne Morgan 4/4 took C1.

Davies takes commanding win in Masters Pre-66 Touring Car finale at Dijon 

Craig Davies put in a convincing performance to win the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car season-closer at Dijon. In the opening stages, Davies was hounding fellow Ford Mustang driver Peter Klutt for the lead when the Canadian was handed a drivethrough penalty for overtaking a backmarker by exceeding the track limits. In the second part of the race, Davies saw Andy Wolfe (in the Falcon started by Mike Gardiner) and Klutt initially close in on him but then Wolfe and Klutt’s challenge faded to hand Davies a commanding 11-second win.

"It was my first time at Dijon”, said Davies, “so I had to use qualifying to get to know the place. I absolutely love it, and the car loves it too. It’s a wonderful way to end a great Masters season! Would I have got ahead of Peter without his penalty? I’ve got to say yes, of course, he was driving extremely well."

"I was defending from Pete, that was the problem, and the car was tired”, said Wolfe about his challenge fading in the end."

"Could I have kept Craig behind?”, said Klutt, “I don’t know, he was pulling awfully strong. And the battle with Andy? That was fabulous! It was back and forth, very even – there was a little bit of contact, and then he got me around the outside."

Geoff Letts was the early leader in the Cortina class, but despite Mark Martin dropping back behind a trio of Minis, team mate Andrew Haddon soon cleared Alan Letts to take the class win, as the Letts got delayed at the pitstops. Norwegian Martin Strommen was third.

"Nick caught me”, Martin explained about dropping three places in one go. “I didn’t want to close the door on him, and then all three came through! I then picked them off one by one before the stops but it was not what I wanted."

“The start was pretty good”, said Geoff Letts. “I was really pleased to make up ground and get the class lead. After that I was just ticking off the laps.”

“It was a shame that we had a problem at our pitstop”, said Alan Letts. “It should have been close with Andrew until the final laps but unfortunately that didn’t happen.”

Despite a 5-second time penalty, Nick Swift won the Mini class ahead of Ian Curley and Liam Sullivan. The three initially ran nose-to-tail before Swift used the second part of the race to move away from Curley’s sight. An 11-second lead was enough for Swift to claim the class spoils.

“I saw the board change from +5 to +0 all of a sudden!”, said Swift. “So I knew I had been given a penalty. I said to myself, ‘I just gotta push, push, push!’”

Initially, Gardiner led away from pole but on the second lap Klutt was past to take the lead. Two laps later, Davies also got ahead of the Falcon that after 10 minutes of racing had the third Mustang of Rob Fenn breathing down its neck, and at quarter distance a Mustang 1-2-3 appeared on the timing screens.

In the Cortina class, Geoff Letts took charge from the start and soon opened up a sizeable gap to Martin Strommen. Mark Martin followed the Norwegian on his bumper before dropping down from seventh to tenth overall, behind the three leading Minis, Nick Swift, Ian Curley and Liam Sullivan running nose-to-tail. Behind Allan Ross-Jones in the fourth Cortina, Ron Maydon led a gaggle of more Minis.

At the front, Davies was closing in on Klutt but when the Canadian was given a drivethrough penalty for overtaking a backmarker while exceeding the track’s limits Davies was free to go. Klutt’s penalty dropped him down to third, right on Gardiner’s rear, as Fenn had spun away second place and now found Letts right in front of him. Adding insult to injury, Fenn was then given a stop-and-go penalty for a jump start.

As the pit window opened, Davies was leading Gardiner by some 20 seconds, with Klutt and Letts right behind. Fenn and Strommen were next up, followed by Martin who had made his way past the three Minis before diving into the pits on lap 16 to hand over to Andrew Haddon. Gardiner joined them on the same lap to allow Wolfe to take over. Davies, Sullivan and Curley followed on the next lap, with Klutt and Letts coming in on lap 18, the latter handing the Cortina to Alan Letts.

Going into the final 25 minutes, Davies maintained a 18-second lead but Wolfe – who soon cleared Klutt to take second – had that down to 12 seconds after five more minutes of racing. Klutt, meanwhile, was not letting go of Wolfe, shading the Falcon through every corner of the circuit. However, in the final quarter Wolfe’s progress ground to a halt, Davies increasing his lead back to 14 seconds.

In the Cortina class, Haddon was hounding down Alan Letts (and got past on lap 20) while Swift and Curley had moved ahead of Strommen, Swift having eeked out a 5-second lead over Curley in the Mini class. He really needed those five seconds, though, as on lap 25 he was given a 5-second time penalty (to be added at the end of the race) for exceeding track limits one time too many.

With five minutes still to run, Davies consolidated a 16-second lead as Klutt finally found a way past Wolfe to take second. Two laps later, however, Wolfe was back into second, as Davies’ two pursuers continued to tussle. At the front, Davies coasted home to win by 11 seconds, leading Wolfe and Klutt across the line. Martin and Haddon took the Cortina win ahead of Geoff & Allan Letts and Martin Strommen, while Swift increased his lead over Curley to 11 seconds to win the Mini class despite his time penalty.

Meichtry beats Leutwiler in tight Masters Endurance Legends lead battle at Dijon 

Ralph Meichtry took a hard-fought win the first of two Masters Endurance Legends races at Dijon. The Swiss driver saw his lead on countryman Niki Leutwiler evaporate at the pitstops but fought back to claim the win by just one second.

“It was fantastic”, said Meichtry about his intra-ORECA Nissan 03 tussle with Leutwiler. “I had a problem with the fuel pump in my first stint, but that was gone as soon as I switched to the back-up fuel pump. I don’t know how I ended up behind Niki after the stops, but for me it was perfect. I loved it, it was much more fun to chase and pass him!”

“It was a real race!” said Leutwiler. “Ralph did a superclean move to eventually pass me. At the end my car got better, so I would have loved to have 10 more minutes!”

Keith Frieser made it an ORECA-Nissan 03 P2 1-2-3, although he could not keep up with the two Swiss ex-Le Mans drivers in front. The Canadian finished some 30 seconds down on the leading pair.

“I tried to keep up with those guys”, said Frieser, “but they have a little more experience than me! I’m still learning the car, this is only my first weekend in it.”

In the first half of the race, Meichtry ran out to a six-second lead on Leutwiler before pitting on lap 14. In their wake, Frieser dropped some 30 seconds but he was a safe third ahead of Engen who at the stops was a further 20 seconds behind.

Formula Renault youngster Charles Milesi led the GT race in the family’s Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, with a safe buffer to Tom Kimber-Smith in the Aston Martin Vantage GT2, as on lap 2 Marc Rostan moved his Pilbeam MP93 in between the two GT2 machines.

Leutwiler pitted two laps later than his countryman, with Frieser following the Swiss’ example on lap 17. The result was that Leutwiler returned just in front of Meichtry who immediately set about chasing the other ORECA 03.

Soon after, Travis Engen – who had been the first to stop – was back in for a second time, the Audi R8 dropping down to sixth, while the Marc Rostan/Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam failed to leave the pits on its pitstop.

Once in front, Leutwiler stuck to his guns to keep Meichtry at bay for lap after lap, the pair often separated by no more than three tenths but on lap 23, Meichtry pounced to recover the lead of the race. Frieser now tailed the two Swiss drivers by some 40 seconds. A brief outing by the safety car on lap 26 failed to throw a spanner in the works as Meichtry subsequently increased his lead to a full second at the chequered flag. Frieser took third, 30 seconds down on the leading pair.

Meanwhile, father Fabrice Milesi – having taken over from his son – increased his lead on Paul Whight who was now in the Aston Martin to claim a dominant GT win.

“In the beginning I was having brake problems”, said the younger Milesi, “but after a while it improved. The brakes need the most getting used to compared with my Formula Renault car. It takes a lot longer to stop the car! But it was good fun, I really enjoyed it.”

Leutwiler wins second Masters Endurance Legends race at Dijon as fuel issue robs Meichtry of dominant victory

Niki Leutwiler took a surprise victory in the second Masters Endurance Legends race at Dijon after his rival Ralph Meichtry was hit by a fuel issue on the final lap. Meichtry was poised to make it two from two from the Dijon Motors Cup weekend, the Swiss ORECA-Nissan 03 driver seemingly having nothing to fear from his countryman and fellow ORECA 03 driver. Leutwiler had spun on the first lap and never recovered to offer a true challenge to Meichtry but was gifted the win at the end.

"It just went at the rear”, said Leutwiler about his first-lap spin. “I locked the brakes, and in a split second it was gone. I had a similar moment later on, the car wasn’t as good on the brakes as it was yesterday."

"What can I say?” said Meichtry, still disappointed about losing a certain win. “I could say all kinds of bad things but I prefer to say that I enjoyed myself and had two great races."

Keith Frieser finished a distant third in another ORECA 03, with Travis Engen’s Audi R8 the best placed P1 car in fourth.

"These guys shared some data with me”, said Frieser about coming close to the two Swiss drivers’ times towards the end of the race, “and that was a great help. I’m really getting to know the car now."

As the field got underway, Meichtry led Leutwiler and Frieser away but sadly, much of the race’s excitement was gone when Leutwiler spun on the first lap, dropping 13 seconds in the process – a deficit he was never going to recover.

Behind the two Swiss drivers, Frieser hung on in third, 38 seconds in arrears of leader Meichtry at the stops. Meichtry stopped on lap 14, with Leutwiler and Frieser following suit on the next lap. On lap 13, Travis Engen in the Audi R8 had been the first to stop.

After the stops, Meichtry’s lead had run out to 22 seconds, with Frieser trailing Leutwiler by another 27 seconds. As the two Swiss were running identical lap times, Meichtry only fractionally quicker than Leutwiler, the gap increased to 23 seconds with five minutes still to go.

Towards the end, Meichtry eased his pace, allowing Leutwiler to close to within 20 seconds. Frieser, on the other hand, upped his tempo, now managing times that were just five tenths off the leader’s pace, as the Canadian got more familiar with his newly acquired P2 machine.

However, the race’s drama was saved right until the end when Meichtry was seen slowing on the final lap and stuttering to a halt right after crossing the finish line. By then, Leutwiler was long gone, and victory was his.

In the GT class, father and son Patrice and Charles Milesi (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) had an easy run to victory, the Frenchmen doubling up from their victory in the first race.


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