Thornton Triumphant in Race 1 at Suzuka!
Greg Thornton took a dominant flag to flag victory in Race 1 of the Suzuka Sound of Engine! After pole sitting team-mate Katsu Kubota failed to take the race start, the door was left wide open for Thornton to make the race his own.
An early safety car period to recover Joaquin Folch’s stranded Brabham meant that Thornton had some pressure on the restart from Nick Padmore (Fittitpaldi F5a) for a few laps, but by midway Thornton had a small buffer between himself and Padmore. Padmore was the leading pre-78 car and was chased hard by Michael Lyons (Hesketh 308E) throughout. Henry Fletcher came in 4th overall but also took the 3rd place on the pre-78 podium.
Behind these 4, Charles Nearburg (Williams FW07) made progress throughout to take 5th overall and 2nd on the Post-78 podium closely followed by Steve Romak (Tyrrell 012). Ron Maydon made it up to 7th place in the LEC hard-pressed by Andrew Beaumont, who made it up from 12th on the grid, to finish 8th.
Although Christophe d’Ansembourg started in 7th and despite fast lappery he only finished 11th overall following two off-track excursions.
In the Stewart Class, Steve Cook finished in first place in his March 721G, finishing in 12th place.
A jubilant Thornton was very happy to receive his podium prize from double F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, declaring Suzuka one of his favourite circuits in the world!