Hartley holds off Cantillon for victory in Sunday's FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Silverstone

Steve Hartley survived a late attack from Mike Cantillon to grab the spoils in the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Silverstone Classic. From the first row of the grid, Hartley’s McLaren MP4/1 took the lead on the opening lap and only had to look back in the final few laps, the flying Cantillon having made his way past Martin Stretton’s Tyrrell 012 that held second place early on.

“I pulled out a bit of a lead, some four seconds, but I could see that Mike was catching me”, said Hartley. “But now I’m looking forward to holding that big trophy!”

Cantillon’s Williams FW07C was suffering from a loose front wing but that didn’t stop the Irishman from recording fastest lap of the race. Christophe d’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) drove a charging race to take fourth from the fifth row of the grid, while the first race’s winner Matteo Ferrer-Aza (Ligier JS11/15) drove a conservative race to snatch fifth.

“I saw it come loose, it sometimes does that after load”, said Cantillon when asked about his wobbly front wing. “But it was no problem. The car felt great at the front end, it was bang on looking at the lap times. I tried [to pass Hartley] at Stowe but he blocked me off. Fair play to him.”

Michael Lyons (McLaren M26) took another pre-78 win, having run second on the opening laps before slowly dropping down the order. Henry Fletcher (March 761) finished second in class again, this time followed across the line by Phil Hall’s Theodore TR1.

“That was some fun out there!” said Lyons. “For the first few laps I thought I had a fight on my hands with Steve, but then the other guys got their tyres switched on…”

On the opening lap, Hartley found his way past pole man Kyle Tilley’s Ensign N177 at Copse, with Lyons following through at Becketts, and Katsu Kubota in the Lotus 91 into Stowe. Behind them, Martin Stretton was on a charge, getting up to fifth on lap 1, and then passing two more to be third on lap 2. In the meantime, Cantillon and Kubota exchanged places while Ferrer-Aza was struggling to get past Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011.

In front, Hartley was momentarily threatened by Lyons before the later McLaren pulled away, with Stretton closing on Lyons in the older McLaren. At the end of lap 3, the Tyrrell was through. In fourth, Cantillon set fastest lap of the race on lap 3, and on the next lap, Lyons saw another post-78 car move past. Even though Cantillon’s Williams FW07C was suffering from a wobbly front wing, the Irishman closed in on Stretton on lap 5, to capture second place with another fastest lap of the race.

Further back, Ferrer-Aza was still off the pace and on lap 6 he was passed by Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C to drop down to eighth. The Belgian then moved up another place to the detriment of Constable. Chasing them was d’Ansembourg Jr in the Brabham BT49, with Henry Fletcher in the March 761 up next, occupying a safe second place in the pre-78 class, 14 seconds ahead of Phil Hall’s Theodore TR1.

Eight laps gone, Cantillon had cut Hartley’s lead to just over a second, having dropped Stretton by seven seconds. Lyons, in fourth, now had d’Ansembourg Sr breathing into his neck, as Kubota had dropped behind the Belgian as well as Constable and Ferrer-Aza, his Lotus 91 losing pace. On lap 10, Ferrer finally found a way past Constable to take sixth.

Going into the 11th and final lap, Cantillon was right on Hartley’s tail but ‘The Jam Baron’ defended bravely and held on to the chequered flag. Stretton finished third, 16 seconds down, with d’Ansembourg and Ferrer pipping Lyons on the final lap to take fourth and fifth. Lyons still took a pre-78 double ahead of Fletcher and Hall.