Padmore holds off Stretton in first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race

Nick Padmore (Williams FW07C) defended a narrow lead over Martin Stretton (Tyrrell 012) to win the first FIA Masters Historic Formula One race of the Masters Historic Festival at Brands Hatch. The race was shortened because of a crash involving Lotus team mates Katsu Kubota and Steve Brooks. Both were unhurt.

Padmore led away from the start, and despite setting several fastest laps of the race Stretton was unable to set up a decisive pass, even though Padmore was keeping as little as four tenths between itself and the Tyrrell.

I loved it!” said an elated Padmore. “But yes, I was made to work hard for it, I need a lie-down after this! After the red came out I thought, ‘Thank God for that’… I’m happy that Katsu is OK, though.

“I was keeping the pressure on him”, said Stretton. “Frankly, I needed a break, I was hoping he would make a mistake with the backmarkers in the final few laps but they never came.”

Some 20 seconds down the road, Mike Cantillon (Williams FW07C) took third, maintaining a two-second gap to Simon Fish (Ensign N180) all race.

“It was good”, said Cantillon, “but I soon lost touch with the guys in front, so it was a bit of a lonely race.”

Greg Thornton dominated the pre-78 class in his Lotus 77, finishing fifth overall, well ahead of Max Smith-Hilliard (Fittipaldi F5A) and Jason Wright (Shadow DN8). Initially, Thornton had no less than four ground-effect cars between himself and Max Smith-Hilliard, but first Steve Hartley (Arrows A4) and Joaquin Folch (Brabham BT49) touched, and then Thornton’s team mates took each other other out, ending the race prematurely. Brooks lined up Kubota into Druids and dived through on the inside but the Japanese still turned in and was launched over the top of Brooks’s left front wheel. Taking evasive action, Smith-Hilliard ended up in the gravel trap.

“Yes, I had my hands ful with those ground-effect cars”, said Thornton, “but we had a cunning plan because of these new reversed-grid rules for the second race of the weekend. Three laps before the end I would let my team mates through to still win the class but start up front tomorrow. So I pulled over, but there was nobody there…”

As the results were drawn up based on the order on the lap before the race-ending crash, Kubota and Brooks still took sixth and seventh, with Smith-Hilliard in eighth, ahead of Ian Simmonds (Tyrrell 012) and Mark Hazell (Williams FW07).

Jason Wright took third in the pre-78 class after Phil Hall went off at Druids in his Theodore TR1 and dropped down to fifth in class behind Ron Maydon’s LEC CRP1.