Voyazides/Hadfield take win as rivals trip up in FIA Masters Historic Sports Car race at Spa
At Spa, Leo Voyazides and Simon Hadfield repeated their Zandvoort win in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Car Championship by again avoiding the mistakes of their rivals. After a first half of the race punctuated by two safety-car periods, Hadfield was chasing down Olly Bryant’s similar Lola T70 Mk3B when the latter was hit with a 3-second stop-and-go penalty for stopping short of the required minute during the mandatory pitstop phase. Hadfield then ran out the race controlling the gap to the Andrew & Max Banks McLaren M6B, on its second outing after its equally successful Silverstone debut.
“Unfortunately, my half was marred by two safety cars”, said Voyazides, “and I lost time entering the pitlane behind the safety car at 20 mph! But the others made mistakes and we didn’t!”
“Well, I made one mistake, spinning into La Source”, said Hadfield, “but from there we got through, and no sillies.”
“I got a good start”, said Andrew Banks, “and managed to work my way up a bit, and then had a good restart after the second safety car. I think we won time when I had a few clear laps when everyone pitted at the same time.”
The Lola T70 Mk3Bs of Paul Gibson/Chris Ward and Mike Donovan that led during the early put themselves out of contention when Gibson pitted ahead of the pit window while Donovan – along with Chris Beighton in another T70 Mk3B – was given a drivethrough penalty for an out-of-position start.
The first safety-car period was called when on the opening lap the Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing Cooper Monaco T61M ground to a halt on the Kemmel straight. The second caution period lasted into the pit window, David Hart ending up stranded on the entry to the Bus-Stop chicane after a suspected tyre blow-up.
The fight for third place saw a hugely entertaining battle between the 2-litre cars of Loïc Deman (making his debut in the championship in a Chevron B19) and Michael Gans (Lola T290). The Belgian and the American swapped places countless times before the local hero prevailed. All the while, a closing Bryant watched on, having recovered from his penalty.
“It was a crazy race!” said Deman, still beaming from his battle with Gans. “We fought and fought, I overtook him, he overtook me, it went on and on!”
Chris Ward managed to salvage sixth for himself and Paul Gibson. He was followed home by four more T70 Mk3B, Chris Beighton overcoming his drivethrough penalty to catch and pass Donovan, Jason Wright and Shaun Lynn.
The Hulme class win went to Andy Wolfe’s Lola T70 Spyder, but Wolfe saw Billy Bellinger closing in fast in the Ahlers/Bellinger Cooper Monaco King Cobra. The stage was set for a thrilling final lap but halfway through the lap Bellinger tried too hard and spun. He still hung on to second place in class as Laurie Bennett finished a distant third in his McLaren M1B.
“I could see him!”, said Bellinger, “and thought, maybe I can get a run at him. And at that moment the talent disappeared…”
“I wasn’t worried”, said Wolfe, “I was simply trying not to get into a fight with O’Connell.”
“I lost time when I was given an arrow”, said a despondent Bennett. “So I pulled over. It was only later that I realised that it was to show me the way around the oil!”
The class-leading Chevron B8 of David Pittard/Graham Wilson could do no better than fifth in the Bonnier class this time out, the win going to the Andrew Kirkaldy/Martin O’Connell B8, with Dion Kremer and Ben Mitchell in second in their Elva Mk8. Pittard did lead the class early on but the pair lost valuable time when they missed the opportunity to pit under the safety car.
The Siffert and Pescarolo class were comprehensively dominated by Nikolaus Ditting (Chevron B16) and Mark & James Bates (Porsche 911 RS) respectively.