Mike Cantillon storms to win in second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Spa

Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) very decisively made his way through the field to lead by lap 4 before going on to take an emphatic win in the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at Spa.

It was a good one, we needed that!” said an elated Cantillon, who broke free with two clear fastest laps of the race on laps 3 and 4. “I knew I had to get on it, so I pushed really hard in the first four laps.

From the top-eight reversed grid, Cantillon started in seventh but was already up to fourth after the opening lap. On lap 2, the UK-born Irishman dealt with Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011, and moved past Henry Fletcher’s March 761 to take second on lap 3. On the next lap, pole man Matteo Ferrer-Aza’s Ligier JS11/15 was Cantillon’s final victim, Ferrer dropping out after a spin on lap 5.

Cantillon’s life was made slightly easier when team mate and rival Christophe d’Ansembourg – who was following Cantillon through the field and was up to sixth on lap 2 – dropped back down to eighth after a wild spin on lap 3. The Belgian recovered to take second ahead of Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49, ensuring the weekend’s second 1-2-3 for the CGA Engineering team. On lap 5, the Saturday race winner was back up into third, and then passed Folch for second on lap 6.

I spun at Fagnes, went on the grass and hit the rear wing against the guardrail”, said D’Ansembourg about his error. “So I basically had to overtake everybody twice!

“It was a tough race for me”, said Folch. “I had five cars in front of me, so I decided to gently get into my pace. But eventually I got them all. The most difficult one was Fletcher [in the March 761] because of his top speed. And there was nothing I could do about the two Williams cars, they just too fast…”

Steve Brooks (Lotus 81) was fourth after dealing with Jamie Constable (Tyrrell 011) who also saw a resurgent Steve Hartley come past on the final lap, the Arrows A4 having come round in 13th after the opening lap. Mike Wrigley’s Williams FW07 ended up in seventh.

Finishing eighth overall, Henry Fletcher took his second win in the pre-78 class, his March 761 initially running in the top-three before it was swallowed by a gaggle of ground-effect cars.

The car was so loose!” said Fletcher. “The first few laps were OK but after that… It was no use trying to fight the aero cars, there was no point in getting caught up. I’m just glad we got another win.

At the end, Fletcher just managed to stay ahead of Gregor Fisken’s Shadow DN5, who inherited the place when Greg Thornton’s March 761 failed to complete the final lap. Matt Wrigley (March 721) was the clear pre-72 winner.

“I had understeer and oversteer all over the place”, said Fisken, “but it was so much fun… I don’t drive this car enough but what can be better than driving a high-airbox F1 car at Spa?”

“My first time in an F1 car at Spa, that’s a big tick-off!” Wrigley concurred. “The first few laps were really tough as I had very little grip. But I had a good dice with the March 811 [of Vincent Rivet], that was so much fun!”