Thornton and Kubota each take a win in exciting Montreal!
In late afternoon sunshine 22 cars made their way down the side of the Bassin Olympique for the Masters USA qualifying session at the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.
Greg Thornton started as he meant to go on in his Lotus 91 hitting good pace from the outset. Fellow Lotus driver Katsu Kubota (Lotus 78) offer some strong opposition but Andrew Beaumont in the Lotus 81 didn’t hit the pace he found during Friday’s practise and had to settle for a slot lower down the grid.
With only a couple of laps left on the clock Belgian Jean Michel Martin (Tyrrell 009) stole the lead from Thornton to take Pole Position for Race 1. Eddie Lawson (Wolf WR4) finished 4th and Jamie Constable showed great promise as he took his Lola T370 to 5th on the grid ahead of Canadian Keith Freiser (Shadow DN1).
With only a short turnaround after qualifying and the last race slot on a busy day at the Grand Prix du Canada Masters USA took to the track for Race 1 with 19 cars. Steve Cook (March 821G), John Delane (Tyrrell 002) and Mike Cantillon (Tyrrell 010 all failed to take to the track for the race, but after a clean race start, an incident for pole-sitter Jean-Michel Martin on the first racing lap at turn 13 caused the red flags to come out in order to recover the stricken car and driver.
The race was restarted for a 10 lap race allowing Greg Thornton, starting from pole this time, to take charge in his ex-Elio de Angelis Lotus 91. World Motorbike Champion, Eddie Lawson, kept him on his toes in the home-grown ex-Jodie Scheckter Canadian Wolf WR4. Katsu Kubota, in the Lotus 78, slipped to 4th place as the car struggling with a temperamental metering until, Jamie Constable taking 3rd spot in the Lola T370 Graham Hill Embassy.
Further down the field Ron Maydon in the LEC CRP1 charged up the field passing first the Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari 312 T4 driven by Danny Baker and then Chris Farrell’s March 821. Unfortunately the Maydon charge was futile as he stopped with gearbox issues with just one lap to go. He was joined in the pits by Eddie Lawson whose engine overheated on the last lap. James Hagan in the Candy liveried Tyrrell 011 moved past Bob Blain’s March 751 and then found a way past Keith Freiser’s Shadow DN1 for 5th overall.
With Lawson stopped in the pits the chequered flag saw Thornton, Constable and Kubota on the podium for the champagne and the accolades!
It was an early start for Masters USA on Sunday morning at the Grand Prix du Canada.
In glorious sunshine the gathering Formula One crowd were not disappointed as 21 iconic cars, including Steve Cook March 721G and Mike Cantillon, Tyrrell 010, who had both missed race 1, took to the grid at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit and provided lots of exciting racing and plenty of overtaking!
With Saturday’s pole sitter, Jean-Michel Martin out of the race and thankfully recovering well from the previous day’s race incident, it was up to Race 1 winner Greg Thornton to set the pace in his Elio de Angelis Lotus 91. However despite his best efforts Lotus Team mate and race winner in previous Support races in Austin and Mexico, Katsu Kubota, in a Lotus 78 driven in period by Gunnar Nilsson, found a way through on the first turns of lap four and the two were nose and tail all the way to the chequered flag to the delight of the crowds.
Four time World motorcycle Champion Eddie Lawson in the Canadian Wolf WR4 showed his prowess on four wheels as he comfortably held off Jamie Constable in the Graham Hill Lola T370 for a consistent 3rd spot throughout the race. With the top four spots taken care of the action further down the field saw plenty of overtaking and the sharp end of Historic racing. Starting from 9th on the grid, the David Purley LEC CRP1 driven by Ron Maydon, charged up the field passing Danny Baker driving the Ferrari 312 T4 driven by Gilles Villeneuve in period, then past Australian Chris Farrell in the March 821 and a faltering Andrew Beaumont, in the Mario Andretti Lotus 81 who eventually came into the pits to deal with a throttle linkage problem. Keith Frieser, Shadow DN1 managed to hold onto 6th place but Baker, Farrell and a troubled James Hagan in the Tyrrell 011 enthralled the crowd with plenty of overtaking and exciting racing.
Charles Warner, driving the Jan Lammers Shadow DN9 and Steve Cook, March 721G both showed consistency that was rewarded with top 10 finishes for both drivers. Doug Mockett, Wolf WR6 and Chris Locke, driving the unfamiliar Penske PC4 raced hard and held off Mike Cantillon in the Alberto Tyrrell 010 before he retired with a wheel problem. Dalmo de Vasconcelos in only his 2nd outing in his Shadow JP Jarrier Shadow DN5 took the chequered flag in 14th place and enjoyed plenty of cheers from the grandstand!
1st Greg Thornton Lotus 91
2nd Katsu Kubota Lotus 78
3rd Danny Baker Ferrari 214 T4
1st Jamie Constable Lola T370
2nd Keith Frieser Shadow DN1
3rd Eddie Lawson Wolf WR4
1st Steve Cook March 721G