Andy Wolfe takes Masters Gentlemen Drivers win at Zandvoort after Pastorelli challenge fades

Andy Wolfe was fighting hammer and tongues with Nicky Pastorelli for an hour of the 90-minute Masters Gentlemen Drivers, the Dutch-run Ferrari 250 GTO/64 recreation hounded all the way by Wolfe’s Cobra before Wolfe got past after the pitstops, the Ferrari retiring with a failed clutch soon after.

This moved the Alexander van der Lof/Yelmer Buurman AC Cobra up into second place, the Dutch pairing having inherited the position of leading chasers after the David Hart/Tom Coronel Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé faltered right after the stops.

In third overall, Dale & Aaron Head drove a stunning race to win the CLP class by a full lap over the similar Lotus Elan of Mark Martin and Andrew Haddon. Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield claimed fifth after a storming drive from the back, having been forced to start from the pitlane.

It was the race of my life!” Wolfe beamed. “I was in my element behind that Ferrari, I was just giggling behind the wheel… I was happy to have him do the work through traffic, and knew I would be quicker after the stops. We put new rear tyres on, so I had the traction and passed him out at the back. Unfortunately, we couldn’t continue our fight.

The race soon developed into separate two-way battles for first and third, Wolfe chasing Pastorelli hard, with Thomas hounding David Hart ten seconds further back before the E-type found a way past the Dutch Cobra Daytona Coupé on lap 6. Two laps later, however, Thomas rolled into the pits, its engine cutting out. Behind the top-four, local man Van der Lof kept on swapping places with John Spiers in the Griffith, the two followed by a gaggle of CLP-class cars led by Dale Head’s Elan. Having been forced to start from the pits – and also having to wait for the second Dutch GT grid to come by – Leo Voyazides was up into 25th place by lap 10, but a lap down on the leaders, the Greek having had to work his way past the many Dutch cars.

Approaching the pit window, Wolfe continued to harry the Ferrari, with the two chasing Dutch Cobras now 40 and 52 seconds down respectively. A minute in arrears from Pastorelli, John Spiers had dropped away from Van der Lof while Head continued to lead the CLP class ahead of Maydon. On a charge, Thomas was back into eighth, ahead of the Fenn/Whight and Martin/Haddon Elans, Fenn and Martin at the wheel.

I had a fantastic race”, said Van der Lof. “I left David ahead as I knew he would be quicker but after that drove a steady race, keeping it cool through the traffic.

The Hart/Coronel Cobra Daytona Coupé was the first shock casualty of the pitstops, Coronel grinding to a halt in the Hugenholtzbocht just moments after having taken over the wheel from Hart. With Wolfe pitting on lap 23 and Pastorelli following one lap later, the order unchanged, the closing of the pit window was followed immediately by a safety-car period caused by Ron Maydon’s Ginetta G4R going off in the Kumhobocht. This somewhat brought BMW GT driver Yelmer Buurman – now in the Cobra he shared with father-in-law Van der Lof – back in striking range of the top-two, even though a huge gaggle of backmarkers still separated them by 25 seconds.

Soon after the restart, Wolfe finally managed to find a way past Pastorelli, but one lap later the Ferrari was slowing and into the pits. Its oil trail caused cars to wildly spin off at the chicane, so a second safety-car period was called. Now, Buurman was a lot closer, the 25-second gap down to just five. In third overall, the Aaron & Dale Head Elan continued to star while leading the CLP class, with the Julian Thomas/Calum Lockie E-type back up into fourth ahead of the Martin/Haddon Elan, Lockie and Haddon having taken over from Thomas and Martin.

When the green flag was waved, nine minutes remained on the clock. Wolfe immediately strode away from Buurman to win but Aaron Head slipped up into Tarzan as Lockie went past the Elan. One lap clear of Haddon, however, the Heads were in the clear for a strong CLP class win. Only moments later, Lockie pulled off in the Hugenholtzbocht, allowing Haddon up into fourth. Profiting from the two safety-car periods, Simon Hadfield in the Voyazides/Hadfield Cobra used the dying minutes to steal fifth from Jamie Boot’s TVR Griffith and Manfredo Rossi’s Shelby Mustang GT350. Eighth overall and third in the CLP class were Rob Fenn and Paul Whight in their Elan.

It was hectic!” said Aaron Head. “Dale did really well to keep it in one piece through the traffic, as we had to rebuild the car yesterday after suffering damage. The safety car was good for us, as the brakes were low, air had got in. I spun out twice but got out again, and after decided to brake a bit earlier…

“The safety car helped us in one way but not in another”, said Martin about getting a lap down on the Head brothers. “My stint was exciting, though, fighting with the other Elans and with Ron. Ron did an outrageously ambitious manoeuvre but he’s such a fun guy, it was OK. I was laughing in the car, and he’s quicker than me anyway.”

“Our car was just not quick enough”, said Van der Lof. “It was two seconds slower than the top three cars, so there was nothing Yelmer could have done.”

“I passed everything I could see!” Hadfield laughed.

In C2, Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger dominated all the way in their Morgan SLR to finish ninth overall. Initially, they were chased by the Crispin Harris/James Wilmoth Austin Healey 3000, Harris driving the first stint, but after the pitstops the David Smithies/Chris Clarkson Healey took over the mantle, with Clarkson at the wheel. The Morgan’s usual main rival – the Nils-Fredrik Nyblaeus/Jeremy Welch Healey – was out after 10 laps.

The Dutch GT race that ran concurrently for 60 minutes of the 90-minute Gentlemen Drivers race, was dominated by the Allard Kalff/Michiel Campagne Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. Campagne was chased by Andy Newall in the German E-type he shared with Rhea Sautter but the car dropped out at the halfway point. Bob Stevens in the Lotus Elan took up the gauntlet but his challenge also faltered, as did his father Jos’ when his Elan stopped short during the pitstops and was given a 33-second time penalty. This handed second place to Alexander Schlüchter’s Elan, with Frans van Maarschalkerwaart’s Shelby Mustang GT350 in third.