Beighton/Hadfield narrowly beat Hart Jr in thrilling Masters Touring Cars duel at Barcelona
Simon Hadfield was made to work really hard to secure victory for himself and Chris Beighton in a barnstormer of a Masters Touring Cars race at Barcelona. A thrilling intra-Ford Mustang battle saw the lead change three times before Hadfield ultimately managed to keep young Olivier Hart at bay. The top-two crossed the line split by a mere three tenths.
After a cracking start, the Dutch teenager had been leading the race ahead of the pit window, maintaining a two-second gap to Chris Beighton, and pitted one lap earlier than his rivals. Their stopping times were similar, so the gap was the same when Hadfield rejoined the track. Hadfield quickly brought down the gap and harried Hart for three laps until making the pass on lap 21. Three laps later, however, Hart was back in the lead. For the next two laps the cars ran nose-to-tail and side-by-side, with a bit of fender bending involved, before Hadfield completed what would be the decisive pass. On the last lap, Hart gave all he could but ran across the gravel on his final attempt, handing the win to Hadfield.
“That was brilliant fun”, said Hadfield. “I’m sure that entertained the troops! Once I got the lead my brake pedal started to go soft, so I thought I’ll slow down, and if he passes me I’ll have to pass him again. And that’s what happened.”
“I had a great start”, said Hart Jr, “and kept a lead of about two seconds until the stops. When Simon rejoined the gap was about the same. He then closed in and I defended for three laps until he got past. I thought that my race was over but I was able to keep up with him and even managed to re-pass him. But then he got past me again, and that was it. I tried on the last lap but it wasn’t enough.”
Meanwhile, Carlos Monteverde and Gary Pearson won the under-2-litre battle by beating the similar Lotus Cortinas of Mark Martin/Andrew Haddon, Mark Hazell/Martin Stretton and Rui Macedo Silva/Pedro Macedo Silva. The Anglo-Brazilian pair ran in third place overall for the entire length of the one-hour race while their pursuers climbed the ranks once their quicker drivers had taken over during the pit window.
“A lonely race for me?”, quipped Pearson. “Not really. I saw Haddon’s Cortina come on the straight every time I was about to enter the first corner. So we were racing each other half a lap apart!”
Jonathan Lewis and René de Vries comfortably won the Mini class ahead of Charlie Birkett/Joe Twyman and Chris Middlehurst/Andy Middlehurst. Starting driver De Vries held fifth overall in his stint but Lewis couldn’t quite keep the Cortinas behind when Haddon, Stretton and Macedo Silva Jr took over from their team mates.