Voyazides & Hadfield end season on a high with FIA Masters Historic Sports Car win at Dijon

Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield took a fairly straightforward lights-to-flag win in the final FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race of the season at Dijon. The pair never looked back as Voyazides led from the start, although harried by Jason Wright in a similar Lola-Chevrolet T70 Mk3B. When Hadfield took over he opened up a 29-second gap on Wright’s team mate for the occasion, Manfredo Rossi.

He had better used tyres”, said Voyazides about being chased by Wright, “and they took some time to get in. So after the safety car he was right behind me!

“No dramas”, said Hadfield about his stint. “Everything was spot on, this win is good to have. It’s not as exciting though! A Sunday stroll in the park? No, it didn’t quite feel that way in the car…”

Rossi held Martin O’Connell (in the white Sidney Taylor Racing T70 Mk3B started by Steve Brooks) to five seconds at the end, with Alexander Furiani taking fourth in Marc Devis’ Chevron B19 and the Belgian following his own car home in fifth, himself driving a Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder. Mike Donovan looked set to make it a Lola T70 Mk3B 1-2-3-4 but retired on the final lap.

It was superfun!” said Rossi about his first experience with the big Lola, having been forced to withdraw his Osella-Abarth PA1 from the meeting. “It’s very progressive so actually it’s more relaxing than the Osella!

“The first safety car allowed me to catch up”, said Wright, “and then my tyres were better. We pretty much did the same times. Too bad I didn’t give Manfredo the perfect car.”

Yes, I spun off at the back of the circuit”, said Brooks about dropping down to 12th on the second lap. “It was hard work to get back where I should have been. Martin did a great job to get the car back up into its deserved place. It was fantastic to get this car running again. It has great history and it’s just wonderful to drive.

From start to lap 6 when the safety car was deployed for the first time, the first four remained in unchanged order, Voyazides pulling out a 6-second gap on Wright who was chased hard by Alex Furiani in the Chevron B19 on loan from Marc Devis. The Belgian himself was fifth in his Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder, with Donovan further up the road in fourth in another T70 Mk3B. Devis had passed Mike Wrigley’s B19 on lap 2, and then by Gonçalo Gomes in the Lola T212, but the Portuguese was the cause of the caution period called on lap 6.

After the restart, the top order stayed the same but now Wright was on it, leaving Furiani behind and keeping Voyazides at a lead of under a second. Donovan, meanwhile, dropped from fourth to 14th with a restart error. This elevated Devis into fourth and Steve Brooks in another T70 Mk3B into fifth. On lap 2, Brooks had spun sixth place away but in six laps he was back into the same position.

As the pit window neared, Wright was still sticking to his Greek rival’s gearbox, Furiani trailing the pair by 7 seconds, with Devis a further 8 ticks behind. Voyazides was the first to come in for his driver change with team mate Hadfield, along with Mike Wrigley who handed his B19 to son Matt. Donovan, meanwhile, had made his way back up to fifth. One lap later, Wright came in to hand his T70 Mk3B to his team mate for this occasion, Manfredo Rossi.

The Italian took to the track 2 seconds in arrears of Hadfield but the João Paulo Campos Costa/Alexandre Beirão GRD S72 ending up in the gravel in turn 1 on lap 20 reduced that to almost zero, as the safety car was deployed for the second time after Beirão went off right after taking over from his Portuguese countryman.

Furiani and Devis were still to pit but could not take advantage of the situation, Furiani delayed even further when he along with Andrew Owen in one of the Chevron B8s was held at the end of the pitlane. This dropped the German down to fifth behind Devis and Martin O’Connell who had taken over from Steve Brooks and moved into third on lap 23 to make it a T70 Mk3B 1-2-3.

In the next ten minutes, Hadfield put 8 seconds in between himself and Rossi, while O’Connell left Devis behind but failed to make an impact on Rossi, the Italian running similar lap times to the car chasing him. Devis, Donovan and Furiani now formed a close-knit trio of cars, Donovan blasting past the German’s B19 on the straight at the start of lap 28. On lap 30, Donovan was up into fourth, with Furiani following suit into fifth, Devis seemingly struggling for power.

As Hadfield brought it home, ending the 40-lap race with a new fastest lap of the race, O’Connell momentarily closed on Rossi in the dying stages but the Italian then held him at five seconds to claim second for himself and Jason Wright.

At one time running as high as seventh overall, Ross Hyett dominated the Siffert class for Chevron B16 cars, finishing well ahead of Jamie Boot’s similar machine.

In the Chevron B8-dominated Bonnier class, the Julian Thomas/ Calum Lockie pairing equally reigned, winning by a full lap. Paul Ingram ran second in class early on but was forced to pit right after the restart on lap 8. This elevated Frazer Gibney into second until Andrew Owen claimed the place on lap 24. However, Gibney was back into the runner-up spot a couple of laps later, as Owen’s pace dropped away, leaving him powerless to defend from Charles Allison in the B8 started by Peter Thompson.