Gans takes second win at Most by dominating FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race
Michael Gans added to his win tally in the Most Historic Grand Prix event by following up yesterday’s Masters Gentlemen Drivers victory with a dominant performance in today’s FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race. His Lola T290 well suited to the twisty Czech circuit, Gans stretched out a 22-second lead of Jason Wright’s Lola T70 Mk3B.
For 23 of the 34 laps, Wright had a ding-dong of a fight over second place with fellow T70 Mk3B driver Mike Donovan, the two swapping places on several occasions before Donovan made a safety stop to check on a possible puncture. He still finished third, albeit a lap down on Gans.
To stay ahead of these guys at the start – that was my first job”, said Gans about the opening laps. “And then really get on it so that they wouldn’t be able to catch me on the back straight! But yes, the Lola is better suited to this track than the Cobra, that’s for sure.
For two-thirds of the distance, Wright and Donovan were never more than a few tenths apart, Donovan initially leading Wright while hounding Gans, before Wright got past on lap 9. One lap later, though, Donovan was back in second place. On lap 16, Wright made it stick for a second time, and held a narrow one-second lead after the pit window, as the American and the Englishman used the exact same amount of time for their pitstops – but were now trailing Gans by 10 seconds.
I thought we were going to have a fight to the death!” said Wright about the battle with Donovan that was cut short. “I was already thinking of conserving my tyres but then he disappeared… It’s a lovely track, though, but not a T70 track!
“I thought I had a puncture”, said Donovan, “the car felt really loose on two occasions, so I just made a safety stop. I knew I had the time in hand on fourth place. But it was great fun. Both Michael and Jason drove superclean.”
The pre-66 Hulme class saw a tense struggle for victory in which reigning champions Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger in their Cooper Monaco King Cobra ultimately prevailed. Class-pole-sitting Dutchman Michiel Smits threw away a chance of victory by spinning into the gravel trap on lap 2, prompting the arrival of the safety car.
The fuel-pressure warning light came on”, said Smits, “and this distracted me to the point that I missed my braking point at the back of the circuit. The same happened at Imola but that was two laps from the end. It’s not what you want to see on your opening lap!
The Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing Cooper Monaco T61M then took charge, Jolly narrowly keeping Ahlers at bay until the pitstops. A quicker stop meant that Bellinger returned in the lead before establishing a lead over Farthing of 20 seconds at the finish. Smits recovered to claim third in class.
“I was hoping to pull away but I was struggling with the brakes”, said Jolly. “Steve could only bring it home.”
“He handed me a car with no brakes… Great!” Farthing laughed. “At the stop he said ‘The car is perfect but… it has no brakes. Off you go!’”
“I knew I had to bang in the first lap”, said Bellinger about jumping his rivals at the start of his stint. “Fortunately they had a slow outlap, and that was it, really. After that, it was a matter of preserving the tyres as this track is very abrasive.”
Greg Thornton (Chevron B8) and Jamie Boot (Chevron B16) won the Bonnier and Siffert classes respectively.