Voyazides/Hadfield keep nose clean to win eventful FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race

Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield came from last on the grid to win a fraught and incident-packed FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race at Zandvoort. Along with second-placed Jason Wright, their Lola T70 Mk3Bs were the only front-running cars that stayed out of trouble, as one rival after another fell by the wayside – either by mechanical misery or by their own doing. Voyazides drove well to claim the lead during his opening stint already, giving Hadfield little else to do than drive it home for the win.

This time, my half of the race was best”, said Voyazides, referring to the pair’s Stena Line Masters Gentlemen Drivers win earlier on the day. “I went from last to first, and did some good overtaking. Simon just finished the job

“Yes, we didn’t do any sillies”, said Hadfield. “Looking at our form I thought we would be third, so I’m really pleased for Leo.”

It’s always my goal to keep my nose clean”, said Wright. “You’re not going to win the race on the first lap. I just didn’t want any damage. At the end, I had a nice race with Paul – we gave each other space, it was really nice

Third-placed driver Paul Gibson first battled problems with his Lola’s door after which – right after a safety-car restart – he ran into the back of Phil Hall’s Lola T212, which at the time was leading the race. Gibson then caught up with Wright and passed the American’s similar Lola before Wright got back at him to secure second place.

“First I was boxed in the pits, and had my trouble with the door”, said Gibson when asked about his early problems. As for the run-in with Phil Hall, “He just braked too early! I was committed, what can you do?”

German Frank Jacob was fourth, also staying out of trouble in his Lola T212, while Chris Lillingstone-Price took fifth in his invitational Chevron B8.

A chaotic few opening laps saw local hero David Hart take to the gravel in Tarzan corner while pre-race favourite Michael Gans retired his Lola T290 at the end of the first lap, its gearbox broken. A safety-car period for a spin by Michiel Smits’ Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder was followed by Mark Piercy retiring his Lola T210 with a puncture and David Hart pulling off with a broken right rear suspension.

After 8 laps, another safety-car period was called when Marc Devis pulled off in his Chevron B19, with Hart’s machine also still parked on the run to the Gerlachbocht. The caution period endured into the pit window, as the broken Lola could not be lifted onto the flatbed recovery truck, forcing the need for another flatbed to come to help. The bottom half of the cars slowed just enough to catch their first opportunity to do a pitstop, while the top half came in after the following tour, and David Pittard on the one after that, shaking up the order to no end.

As, at the restart, Nicky Pastorelli (still due for a drivethrough because of a jumped start) led away Jamie Boot’s Chevron B16, Michiel Smits’ recovered Lola T70 Mk1, the Beaumont/Middlehurst McLaren M1B and the Buurman/Van der Lof Corvette Stingray ahead of ‘virtual leader’ Voyazides/Hadfield, the safety car was out again almost immediately when Boot’s Chevron and Smits’ Lola made contact at the end of the straight, leading to immediate retirement for Boot while Smits limped back to the pits with a flat left-rear, having been beached in the Tarzan gravel initially. Meanwhile, Phil Hall retired his damaged Lola T212. Only in the final ten minutes, relative normalcy set in.

Class battles were tight as well, Andy Middlehurst (McLaren M1B) passing Andy Wolfe’s Lola T70 Mk1 Spyder on the penultimate lap for sixth overall and the Hulme class win. For Wolfe, it was all for nothing, though, when afterwards his car was disqualified. Keith Ahlers and Billy Bellinger, so used to class wins in their Cooper Monaco King Cobra, were a distant third in class, trailing the two Bonnier-class-leading Chevron B8s.

He was quicker on the faster stuff”, Middlehurst explained. “But he was braking a bit gingerly, and that’s where I got him

“I had a problem with oil surge”, said Wolfe about the Lola T70 Mk1 that was owned by David Hart before. “So I had to back off the engine.”

“It was a straightforward run for us”, said Ahlers, “we were just not fast enough…”

In a similarly tight fight for Bonnier class honours, Graham Wilson got back to the front with three laps to go. David Pittard had been leading the class in Wilson’s Chevron B8 but after the stops the Andrew & Mark Owen B8 took the lead when Pittard stayed out for two laps while the pit window was open during another caution period.

Despite his drivethrough penalty, Nicky Pastorelli (Ferrari 365GTB/4) crossed the line first in Pescarolo class, heading the troubled Porsche 911 RS of Mark & James Bates. In their Corvette Stingray, local duo Alexander van der Lof/Yelmer Buurman were contenders too, until they retired their car two laps from the end.