Jason Wright wins first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Estoril as on-the-road winner Martin Bullock gets demoted
Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) was handed the win in the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race of the Estoril Classic festival in Portugal when surprise winner-on-the-road Martin Bullock (Williams FW06) was given a time penalty for causing a collision on the first lap.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Bullock had come through to take the chequered flag in first place after a demon start saw him take third at the first corner. The Australian then muscled his way past Max Smith-Hilliard’s Fittipaldi F5A, but Smith-Hilliard was forced to retire as a result of the contact. When Nick Padmore’s Shadow DN5, which had led away from pole, dropped out on lap 6 with clutch failure, Bullock inherited a lead that he never relinquished.
Padmore had opened up 17-second gap to Bullock when he returned to the pits on lap 6. This handed the Williams driver a five-second lead on Manfredo Rossi’s Lotus 80, but the Italian began dropping away on the same lap before grinding to a halt on lap 8.
Now Joaquin Folch (McLaren M19C) was second, but with Jason Wright’s Shadow DN8 in hot pursuit. On lap 10, the Italian finally passed the Spaniard’s much older machine.
“We had a nice fight, Joaquin and me”, said Wright. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, the first time we raced against each other was way back at Montlhéry of all places but we never really fought each other on the track. I should have been gone, really, but in the end I got him coming out of the back straight. He left the door open like a true gentleman, it was real motor racing.”
“I was everywhere!”, Folch laughed. “The car has no significant aero… It’s fast on the straights, that’s how I kept him behind. I’m practising for Monaco, really – and this was good practice!”
Wright then found that he was rapidly closing the gap to Bullock in the lead. The Australian looked like he was in trouble but with three laps to go suddenly rediscovered his pace and left his pursuers with no chance. After 15 laps, Bullock took the chequered flag by some five seconds.
“I had the sun in my eyes”, Bullock explained, “so I didn’t realise I was in the lead. That’s why I slowed down! Then I saw the white car [of Jason Wright] behind me and thought, ‘I’d better speed up again!’. “I got a really good start”, Bullock said of his first lap. “And then I got into a fight with Max. It was a bit of a nudge, nothing really serious.”
The stewards, however, thought otherwise and handed Bullock a time penalty that dropped him to third behind Wright and Folch.
In a race of attrition, just five cars made it to end, Paul Tattersall stealing fourth place from Michel Baudoin (Hesketh 308) on the penultimate lap, his Ensign N179 having lost ground after a pitstop on lap 5. Both Tattersall and Baudoin were a lap down on the winner.