Deman beats Lyons in damp second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Magny-Cours

Loïc Deman (Tyrrell 010) won the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Magny-Cours after passing Michael Lyons (Williams FW07B) for the lead three laps from the end. In damp conditions, Lyons took the gamble to start on slicks and miraculously made them work for nine laps of the race, but when the drizzle turned into proper rain there was nothing he could do to hold back Deman. The Belgian set a string of fastest laps of the race to close the three-second gap that Lyons had built up from the start before making the move on lap 10.

“It was incredible that Lyons was so fast on slicks!” said Deman, who was still quite happy to take the victory.

“But then it started to rain just too much, and I was able to overtake him. I should have done better, though, I wasn’t very happy with how the car was handling on wet tyres.”

“After three laps, when I saw the rain coming, I knew it was the wrong decision”, said Lyons. “But it was fun to try!”

Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A) took third overall as well as the pre-78 win after brushing off the attentions of Jamie Constable (Shadow DN8). Smith-Hilliard inherited third when Historic F1 rookie Fred Lajoux – one of the weekend’s surprise stars – was penalised for leaving the grid too late and then driving his Arrows A1 back up to its starting position before the race got underway. Lajoux had been pushing Deman for four laps when a small mistake dropped him back some five seconds – and then the penalty came. The Monegasque didn’t even bother to rejoin the race.

Initially, Constable was hounding Smith-Hilliard around but halfway into the race the latter stretched his legs to pull out a four-second gap that he maintained until the finish. Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) was a distant fifth while taking third in the pre-78 class.

“I realised it was going to cause more problems if Jamie kept close”, said Smith-Hilliard “so I gritted my teeth and put in a couple of quick laps.

“I enjoyed the fight with Jamie, though, we were almost side-by-side at times but it was all done with gentlemanly conduct.” Constable agreed. “Max put in one lap, and that was it. There was just no way I could get it back.”

Wright, meanwhile, was happier than yesterday but still unsatisfied. “Yesterday I was really struggling, it was better today. It was a lonely race, yes. James Hagan was behind for a bit, but then he fell away. I still feel I didn’t drive very well today, I should have up with Max and Jamie.”

The American who over the weekend was eagerly following the progress of his two Ferrari 156 Sharknose re-creations which made their public debut at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, was followed home by James Hagan (Hesketh 308) and Patrick D’Aubréby (March 761) while Mike Wrigley (Williams FW07C) ended up a surprised eighth, having spun on the warm-up lap. His surprise was even greater when he found out he would actually be the third man on the post-78 podium, as Mark Hazell (Williams FW07) spun out on the penultimate lap while lapped by Deman. Lajoux’s penalty then also helped his cause.

“I went so sideways on the warm-up lap that my engine cut out!” said Wrigley. “My own stupid mistake, so yes, it’s a miracle that I’m up here. Mind you, I already finished third and second here, so I fully expected to be first this time!”

Along with Lyons, Mark Hazell’s was one of four cars that started on slicks. Steve Boultbee-Brooks (Lotus 81) kept it clean to finish ninth, ahead of Vincent Rivet’s March 811, but Greg Thornton lost his gamble when his Lotus 77 went off at Adelaide on lap 5.