Lyons takes comfortable win in second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race

In a six-lap ‘sprint’ race after the first three laps were completed behind the safety car, Michael Lyons (Williams FW07B) romped home to an easy victory in the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Spa. From pole, Lyons was never headed and coasted to a 16-second lead at the finish.

“Big thanks to Mike Wrigley for lending me his engine”, said Lyons after his original engine dropped a valve in the warm-up to the weekend’s first race. “It was a big effort from the team, a long, long night as they had to take the engine out twice on discovering a problem with the water pump. The whole race I was stroking the car home. The key was that I switched on the tyres straight away.

Williams FW07 drivers Christophe d’Ansembourg and Mike Cantillon fought hard over second place, the Belgian narrowly keeping his team mate behind. Nick Padmore was able to watch the fight closely, shadowing the Williams pair for the entire race. In fourth overall, the Shadow DN5 driver did take pre-78 class honours.

“I went down his inside once on lap 4”, said Cantillon about his fight with CGA Engineering team mate D’Ansembourg. “But then he got back at me, and that was it.”

“It was great fun to watch”, said Padmore. “A couple of times I thought they’d take each other off! I tried my best to get past one of them myself but on the faster bits they kept going away from me. There was nothing I could do.”

Steve Hartley (Arrows A4) was fifth ahead of Jamie Constable taking a strong second place in pre-78 class. The Shadow DN8 driver started the race in eighth place but found a way past Mike Wrigley’s Williams FW07D and then gained another place when Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49C broke at the end of lap 6.

“It was good fun”, said Constable about his race. “It dried out quicker than I expected, so I just had to be brave!”

Eighth overall and third in the pre-78 class was Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A), who was unable to keep pace with Constable and had to be content with keeping James Hagan (Hesketh 308) and Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) at bay.

“I wasn’t going to take any chances”, said Max Smith-Hilliard. “The point was to collect some points.”

The first three laps were run behind the safety car because of a rain shower at the back of the circuit. High-profile casualties included Saturday’s winner Loïc Deman (Tyrrell 010) and pre-78 class favourite Greg Thornton (Lotus 77). Deman came into the pits to change tyres, only to drop a lap behind. The Belgian retired on lap 5. Thornton pulled in on lap 6, his battery down.