Wright & Wolfe rumble to FIA Masters Historic Sports Car win at the 然ing

Jason Wright and Andy Wolfe (Lola T70 Mk3B) won from the front to grab FIA Masters Historic Sports Car glory at the 然ing, but had to deal with strong opposition from Michael Gans. The American’s Lola T290 had overtaken Wright just before the pit window and stayed out long to create a five-second gap to Wright’s team mate Wolfe. Once settled in, Wolfe reclaimed the lead on lap 21 to win by 14 seconds from Gans.

的t was quite tough”, said Wolfe about fighting Gans. 滴e’s a team mate and a great customer, so I couldn’t afford a mistake and he’s quite tough in defending his place! And then Simon [Hadfield] running in between us with a lap down made it even more complicated But it’s a good weekend for the team I think we won almost everything!”

After a race-long fight with Manfredo Rossi’s Osella-Abarth PA1, Henry Fletcher took third in the Chevron B26, while Marc Devis took fifth in the McLaren M8C. The Leo Voyazides/Simon Hadfield challenge suffered from a puncture for the Greek but from a lap down Hadfield fought back to claim sixth back on the lead lap, and with fastest lap of the race. They all moved up one place when after the race Gans was excluded from the results.

展e had a misfire on the outlap, it wouldn’t run at all. It cleared on the green-flag lap, but it wasn’t a great start”, said Fletcher. 的t was a good battle but with some aggressive driving going on. I was pleased with the way I drove, though, especially in the second part of the race when the race got into a rhythm. I got my head down, I could see Manfredo in front of me. Then he made a mistake and I got past, and after that he gave up.”

Despite some serious first-lap setbacks, Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing (Cooper Monaco T61M) won the pre-66 Hulme class, their work made easier by Keith Ahlers beaching his Cooper Monaco King Cobra in the chicane’s gravel trap early on. The Mark Shaw/Chris Drake McLaren M1B featured in the opening stages but in the end dropped behind Richard McAlpine’s similar car.

徹n the first lap, I went through some gravel fired at me from a competitor in front, and it punctured the radiator I had fluid all over my visor and couldn’t see a thing!” said Jolly about his troubled start to the race. 釘ut we finished! After I saw Keith in the gravel trap it was just a question of keeping it going and seeing what happens.”

From the start, a five-car lead group soon separated itself from Marc Devis’ McLaren M8C in sixth. Leo Voyazides had blasted straight into the lead but did he jump the start and was followed by Wright, Rossi, Gans and Fletcher. Wright stole back first place but outbraking Voyazides into turn 1 at the start of lap 2, while Gans nipped past Rossi. On the next lap, Fletcher passed the Italian as well, as the three open-top prototypes kept on harrying Voyazides in second.

The Greek succumbed to Gans’ pressure on lap 3, Fletcher also nipping past, but then the safety car was out. At the chicane, Keith Ahlers’ Cooper Monaco King Cobra had ended up in the gravel trap, handing the pre-66 Hulme-class initiative to Mark Shaw in the McLaren M1B, now running in ninth overall. Seventh, meanwhile, was Mark Owen in the Chevron B8, the younger Owen handsomely leading the Bonnier class and helped by Julian Thomas’ similar B8 needing to visit the pits on lap 3 and dropping down to last on the road. Frank Jacob’s Lola T212 was eighth overall, John Sheldon’s Chevron B16 led the Siffert class in tenth overall.

The race was on its way again on lap 8 and Voyazides outbraked himself into turn 1, to lose two more places to Rossi and Devis. At the front, Wright was chased by his friend Gans, with Rossi keeping a watchful eye in third. Voyazides, meanwhile, was in the wars, spinning on the exit of the chicane and returning to the pits for a check-up, where a puncture was found to be the root of the problem. The Greek returned one lap down.

In the pre-66 class, Shaw was coming under increased pressure from Martin O’Connell guesting in Wolf Zweifler’s Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder, even though the pair were stlll split by Jacob’s Lola T212, but another safety car spoiled the fun for now Nicky Pastorelli had spun his Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona into the gravel on the exit of the Mercedes Arena. Just ahead of that, however, Gans had overtaken Wright for the lead.

The safety-car period continued into the pit window, but it was a tough choice: the green flag was waved right at the moment the cars came back for their first opportunity to pit. Gans chose to stay out, but Wright, Rossi, Fletcher and Devis all came in, Wright handing over to Andy Wolfe. The same applied to Bonnier-class leader Mark Owen, who was relieved by father Andrew, and to Hulme-class leader Mark Shaw, who handed the McLaren to Chris Drake.

Meanwhile, finally freed from his pursuers, Gans put in the fastest lap of the race, now followed by Siffert-class leader Sheldon, 30 seconds further down the road. Richard McAlpine in the other McLaren M1B in the race was another non-stopper for now and took up third. Rossi was fourth, having jumped the Wright/Wolfe Lola at the stops, with Fletcher and Devis up next. A lap down, Simon Hadfield in the T70 Mk3B started by Voyazides was mixing it with that chasing pack.

The next lap, Gans was in too, along with Sheldon, while McAlpine took the last possible opportunity, with few seconds of the pit window still remaining. The order shaking out on lap 17, Gans was still in the lead, five seconds up on Wolfe, who was chased by Rossi and Fletcher. In a lonely fifth place, Devis trailed the leader by 24 seconds, while John Sheldon had dealt with the two German Lola T212 entries of Johannes Offergeld and Frank Jacob to run a strong sixth overall. A spin for Andrew Owen dropped him down to 12th overall, which meant that Uwe Bruschnik’s Porsche 910 in ninth overall now led the Bonnier class. Rolf Lamberty in the second-placed Siffert-class Chevron B16 was tenth, ahead of the new Hulme-class leader, the Chris Jolly/Steve Farthing Cooper Monaco T61M. On lap 19, Robin Ellis in the B8 started by Thomas also made his way past the troubled Owen & Owen machine.

At the front, Andy Wolfe had settled into a rhythm and was now setting fast laps to close on Gans. In between the pair of them, Hadfield was running even faster, and managed to unlap himself while Gans and Wolfe fought for the lead! The two had dropped Rossi and Fletcher by seven and ten seconds respectively, with Devis still on a island in fifth, as well over 30 seconds down Offergeld had repassed Sheldon for sixth.

On lap 21, it was done Wolfe had passed Gans, and slowly the small Lola saw the big Lola disappear from sight. Behind them, Fletcher and Rossi had also switched places. While Hadfield continued to make up places, having stormed all the way up to eighth on lap 24, his next place was won in an easy way, as Sheldon’s Chevron B16 slowed on the next lap to lose what looked like a shoo-in Siffert-class win.

When after 30 laps the chequered flag dropped, Wolfe won by 14 seconds from Gans, while in the final laps Fletcher’s gap to Rossi increased to 22 seconds. Devis finished the race in fifth, 1 minute and 22 seconds down on Wolfe, with Hadfield just staying unlapped to take sixth ahead of Offergeld and Jacob. Rossi was promoted to the podium when Gans’ efforts proved in vain, as the American was disqualified two hours after the race.

In ninth overall, Chris Jolly and Steve Farthing (Cooper Monaco T61M) won the pre-66 Hulme class, while Rolf Lamberty inherited the Siffert-class win after Sheldon’s demise. Uwe Bruschnik held on to win the Bonnier class from Thomas/Ellis, but then Bruschnik’s Porsche 910 failed post-race scrutineering, handing the win to Thomas/Ellis after all.