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.”