Furiani & Coronel steal last-lap Masters Pre-66 Touring Car win at Zandvoort

In a thrilling finish to the Masters Pre-66 Touring Car race at Zandvoort’s Historic Grand Prix meeting, Tom Coronel stole victory from Andy Wolfe when the latter’s Ford Falcon Sprint was baulked by backmarkers on the final lap. Using his local knowledge, the Dutchman – in the Alfa Romeo GTA he shared with German Alex Furiani – kept to the outside in Gerlach corner and nipped past on the inside of the following Hugenholtz corner, leaving Wolfe stuck behind the two slower cars until the end of the turn.

Alex gave me the car in great condition”, said a jubilant Coronel. “Once I was past the backmarkers I chased the car that I was supposed to get. I think we were side-by-side at least five or six times but it was much quicker on the straights, I just couldn’t get passed. So I thought, I must use the backmarkers… It was very risky, I was hoping both cars would see me – and I was lucky that they did.

In a carbon-copy move, Calum Lockie’s Ford Falcon took third overall – and second in the American V8 class – by nipping past Mark Martin’s Cortina, again on that amazing final lap. In fifth, John Spiers’ Lotus Cortina took third in the under-2-litre class while John Burton’s Ford Mustang finished third of the big cars.

Yes, I got him on the final lap”, said Lockie, “right after the yellows shown in Tarzan. They blocked him and I went the other side…

The first half of the race was dominated by Andrew Haddon’s Lotus Cortina who was soon back at the head of the field after Mike Gardiner initially nipped past. Haddon quickly opened up a gap to Gardiner and the other Falcon driven by Julian Thomas, who after a long fight took second place on lap 8.

Behind the top-three, Mark Burton’s Ford Mustang was fourth but on lap 7 had to give way to Alexander Furiani’s Alfa GTA. The German had wandered off into the Tarzan gravel at the start of lap 2 to drop down to tenth place behind a gaggle of Minis but picked his way past all of them before also dismissing with Burton. The Mustang then continued to drop behind the rest of the Minis.

Among the Minis, Nick Swift was the early leader but then Chris Middlehurst pushed through to lead Swift, Liam Sullivan and Ian Curley, all four cars running nose-to-tail before Middlehurst broke free and passed Burton for fifth on lap 8. In tenth overall, John Spiers’ Lotus Cortina was running third in the under-2-litre class that now had Furiani’s Alfa in second place.

The order was shaken up when right in the middle of the pit window the safety car was deployed to allow the retrieval of the Liam Sullivan/Jonathan Lewis Mini which was in the gravel trap at the chicane, having lost its left-front wheel. This proved to be a lengthy affair, as it left just 16 minutes of racing.

Now Mark Martin, having taken over from Haddon, was leading Middlehurst, Wolfe (in Gardiner’s car) and Tom Coronel (in Furiani’s GTA), with Calum Lockie in the Thomas/Lockie Falcon following suit. Curley then led Ron Maydon who had taken over the wheel from Swift, followed by Spiers, Burton and Rob Fenn in another Mustang.

The safety car really cost us”, said Martin about losing the lead that Haddon had built. “And then I had cars overtake me at the restart. I was just unlucky.

Soon, Wolfe was into the lead, with Coronel taking the under-2-litre lead from Martin, and Middlehurst maintaining first position in the Mini class in third overall – but all for nothing, as he was penalised with 21 seconds for stopping four seconds short during the pit window. Initially, Wolfe got away from Coronel but from lap 22 – and finally with a clear track ahead of him – the Dutchman closed in on the leader, in the process setting fastest lap of the race.

The next three laps, Coronel was hounding the Falcon around the twisty back of the circuit, with Wolfe powering away on the straight again. Wolfe looked like holding onto it but on the final lap tripped up over two backmarkers fighting each other into Gerlach corner. Coronel used his local track knowledge to nip past on the outside, leaving Wolfe stuck on the inside and going on for a famous win which in fact was practice for the Goodwood Revival where Coronel will share the David Hart-owned car with Olivier Hart.

“Everybody moved over for him!” Wolfe quipped. “It was great fun, though. We must have been side-by-side everywhere, I heard that Alfa engine whirring next to me all the time!”

In the Mini class, Chris Middlehurst time penalty dropped him down to seventh behind Ian Curley, who in the process was handed the class win.

In the concurrent race for the touring cars of the Dutch Historic Touring Car & GT Championship, Norbert Gross dominated ahead of the similar Falcon of Jasper Izaks/Frits Campagne. On lap 5, the third-placed Falcon of Martin Bijleveld/Jaap van der Ende dropped back because of an unscheduled pitstop, leaving Roel Korsten’s Mustang to move up into the place. After the stops, Carlo Hamilton’s Falcon pushed through to take second ahead of Korsten and Izaks/Campagne.