Padmore takes last-gap win in FIA Masters Historic Formula One

From pole, Loïc Deman was on course for a home victory when his Tyrrell expired in the Bus-Stop chicane, literally in sight of the finish line. This handed the win to Padmore, who followed the Belgian all race but could do nothing about it.

Padmore couldn’t believe his luck. I chased and chased, but kept hitting the limiter. And then on the last lap, Loïc’s car grew bigger and bigger. I thought, oh, I gotta have this! And then in Blanchimont, his car just died… There is a God!

Behind the leading pair, Christophe d’Ansembourg (Williams FW07C) and Greg Thornton (Lotus 91) had their private battle for third – which became second when Deman faltered on the final lap. Thornton looked like he had it sewn up and crossed the line in second place but was then given a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits at Blanchimont.

D’Ansembourg had to fight his way up from fifth at the start when Paolo Barilla thundered past in his Williams FW07. The Belgian was back past the Italian ex-Minardi F1 driver before the end of the first lap and then took Thornton’s Lotus on lap 2. The Lotus driver was first warned for exceeding track limits on lap 4, as he tried to find his way past D’Ansembourg. He did so one lap before the end, but officialdom decided otherwise, demoting Thornton back down to third with the 5-second time penalty.

“Yes, I was pushed back to third but it’s fair that Christophe got second”, said Thornton.

I was really unlucky with backmarkers”, said D’Ansembourg, “and at the end that cost me the place. But at least I didn’t have a lonely race, I enjoyed it very much! I hope for the same tomorrow

Further down the road, Barilla and Simon Fish (Ensign N180) were never far apart. Fish, who had received a grid penalty for avoidable contact at the Nürburgring, was back into his original qualifying position after just one lap, and took Barilla’s fifth place on lap 5.

Behind them, Jamie Constable (Shadow DN8) had a quiet race on his way to victory in the pre-78 class. His main rival for the weekend, team mate Max Smith-Hilliard, failed to make the start when his fuel pump failed. A lap behind when he did get going, Smith-Hilliard was back into the pits after a single tour. It was a costly mechanical failure for Smith-Hilliard in his quest for the pre-78 class title, as he was hoping to profit from Michael Lyons having obligations at the Nürburgring driving in the Blancpain Endurance Series this weekend.
“Yes, it was very lonely out there”, said Constable. “With Max out, there was no chance to have a proper race.”

The two March 811s of Vincent Rivet and Mark Dwyer stuck close to each other from lights to flag to seventh and eighth respectively, the Frenchman passing Dwyer in a very eventful final lap. Ninth, and second in the pre-78 class, was Jason Wright’s Shadow DN8. The American fought his way up from the back of the grid to take second place in class when Keith Frieser’s Shadow DN1 went off into the barriers on lap 3.

John McKenna saw the engine of his beautiful Parnelli VPJ-4 blow up on the final lap but unlike Deman the American was still able to cross the line and take third place in the pre-78 class. McKenna had taken the place from Marc Devis’ Maki F101 on lap 7, and couldn’t believe his luck after securing the podium spot.

“Yes, the motor’s gone, but to be on the podium at Spa…” said a jubilant McKenna. “I wish my wife knew!”
Frank Lyons, in Michael Lyons’ usual mount, the Hesketh 308E, and John Delane (Tyrrell 001), the only runner in the Stewart class, brought up the rear. David Abbott (Arrows A4) and Mike Cantillon (Tyrrell 010) both went off at Les Combes on the opening lap.