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.