Stretton takes second win of the weekend in eventful FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Nürburgring
From eighth on the grid, Martin Stretton stormed his way to the front to also win the second FIA Masters Historic Formula One race at the Nürburgring. The Tyrrell 012 driver hit the front on lap 7, passing Jonathan Holtzman’s Lotus 87B and Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011, the pair tangling on the penultimate lap to hand second place to Matteo Ferrer-Aza’s Ligier JS11/15.
“A hard-work race”, said Stretton. “I’m not necessarily a fan of the reversed grid – but it was a good one to win.”
In fourth, Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49 took the final post-78 podium spot.
“We need to change the car and get rid of the six-speed gearbox. It wasn’t working for me, they all kept coming past”, said Folch about the early stages that saw him lose many positions. “And the last part was really demanding. I saw Cantillon spinning, Constable spinning… and then I thought: wow, I’m third in class!”
In an eventful race twice interrupted by safety cars, Henry Fletcher held on to the lead for six laps to drop five places on one lap, but still took third overall (and a second pre-78 class win of the weekend) in his March 761.
“Yes, it was quite eventful! Shame about the safety cars…” said Fletcher. “At one moment I ran a bit wide and then I let them all go. There was no use in holding them all up. But third overall is great, I’m very happy with that.”
Having started from pole, Jason Wright (Shadow DN8) ran second early on and salvaged fifth overall and second place in the pre-78 class, heading home the two local heroes – Harald Becker’s Arrows A3 and Georg Hallau’s Theodore N183. Austrian Franz Guggemos took third in the pre-78 by finishing ninth overall in his Hill GH2.
The opening lap saw Fletcher snatch the lead from pole-sitter Jason Wright while Jamie Constable’s attempt to pass Christophe d’Ansembourg into the final corner ended in the Belgian spinning his Williams FW07C around. As the car remained stationed on the exit of the corner, the safety car had to be called. In the meantime, Holtzman Constable had made their way past Joaquin Folch’s Brabham BT49 that initially ran third, while Stretton had passed Cantillon on his way up, with Ferrer-Aza coming up from the back to join the two, followed by Georg Hallau’s Theodore N183 and Harald Becker’s Arrows A3, the latter entering the top-ten
The green flag was waved at the end of lap 4, and Stretton immediately blasted past Folch to take fifth while Wright dropped down the order to see Holtzman, Constable, Stretton, Cantillon, Folch and Ferrer all fly past. Two laps gone, Fletcher was now really feeling the pressure from Holtzman who in turn was pushed by Stretton, the Tyrrell 012 also having dealt with Constable’s Tyrrell 011. On the next lap, Fletcher cracked, and four post-78 cars all came storming past, Stretton in the process removing Holtzman from the lead.
So at the end of lap 7, Stretton was in front, with Holtzman holding up Constable and Cantilllon, but Constable made it up into third before lap 8 was completed. On the next lap, though, the American fought back to reclaim second place. Cantillon was still fourth, but then spun and stalled at the first turn – requiring the dispatch of another safety car. This handed Ferrer fourth place, the Italian having past Fletcher on lap 8. Next up, but seven seconds down, Folch was chased by Wright, with local heroes Becker and Hallau over half a minute behind in P8 and P9. Bruno Ferrari’s Merzario A3 was in tenth, ahead of Franz Guggemos’ Hill GH2 that was holding third place in the pre-78 class.
“The race was good”, said Guggemos, “but I lost the brakes. I was lucky with the safety car. That allowed me to pump the brakes and then they came back!”
With one and a half minutes still on the clock, the green flag was waved. Stretton was safe out in front, driving to a second win of the weekend, but when Constable tried a move on Holtzman in the Michelin-Kurve the pair tangled to lose their podium spots. Ferrer-Aza and Fletcher inherited second and third, Fletcher bagging another pre-78 win, while Folch claimed the final post-78 podium spot. Wright was fifth – and second in the pre-78 class, with third in class going to Guggemos in ninth overall.
“A lucky race”, said Ferrer-Aza, the result having been what he needed for his championship. “I didn’t have the pace but it’s great to end on a high!”