At the Jerez Historic Festival, Christophe d’Ansembourg took the double in Masters Endurance Legends while Mike Cantillon and Marco Werner shared the spoils in Masters Historic Formula One. Steve Brooks and Martin O’Connell proved emphatic winners in Masters Historic Sports Cars, with John Spiers and Nigel Greensall prevailing in a Masters Gentlemen Drivers race that remained tense until the end.
From pole, Mike Cantillon stormed off to crown a flawless performance with a commanding win in the first Masters Historic Formula One race at the Jerez Historic Festival. Opening up a gap as large as 7 seconds, the Irishman’s Williams FW07C was never headed. Marco Werner took second in the Lotus 81 while Jamie Constable’s Tyrrell 011 passed Nick Padmore’s Lotus 77 for third on lap 9.
“It was great to win”, said Cantillon. “It was still tough out there, especially in the second half of the race when the tyres went off.”
“I’m happy because it’s nice to see the chequered flag again”, said Werner, reflecting on the bad luck in his Spa weekend. “The engine in the 81 had a misfire, but now it has a used engine from a Lotus 76 that had just arrived in our workshop. We did a demo run at Hockenheim and it was fine, so we brought it here. Big compliments to Mike, he did a great job, he was really fast. I lost too much time in the slow corners.”
“As his tyres were going off, I knew it was coming, I just had to wait for it”, said Constable on the opportunity to snatch third from Padmore.
Padmore still took a comfortable pre-78 class win from Miles Griffiths in the Fittipaldi F5A, who chased Christophe d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C for fifth all race. In the McLaren M23, Lukas Halusa took eighth overall while sandwiched between the Lotus 91s of Katsu Kubota and Steve Brooks.
“My tyres just went off”, said Padmore on losing third overall. “I was sliding and wheelspinning all over the place – and those ground-effect cars are just faster in high-speed corners.”
“I was chasing Christophe the whole race but just couldn’t get close enough”, said Griffiths, as he looked back on his first Masters Historic Formula One race. “It was my first time, I’m truly thankful to Max Smith-Hilliard and really happy to get the opportunity.”
“It was hot!” said Halusa. “It was a bit lonely for me. I was chasing Katsu and Steve for a bit but they were faster, so I decided to have a bit of fun and just bring it home.” The Austrian had only completed his pre-66 F1 race 25 minutes before so was forced to adapt quickly. “It took a few laps to get used to, but in fact I really enjoy those switches!”
Warren Briggs in the McLaren M29 completed the top-ten while in 13th overall, Mark Hazell took the post-82 class win in his Williams FW08.
As they rushed towards the first couple of corners, Cantillon led away from Werner, Padmore, Constable and d’Ansembourg, with Griffiths, Brooks, Kubota, Halusa and Briggs up next. After one lap, Cantillon had drawn away from Werner by a second, as the German was chased by Padmore, with the leader increasing the gap to 1.7 seconds on lap 2.
The positions behind stayed unchanged but groups were beginning to take shape, Werner’s Lotus 81 leading Padmore’s pre-78 class-leading Lotus 77 and Constable’s Tyrrell 011, with a 5-second gap to d’Ansembourg’s Williams FW07C and Miles Griffiths in the Fittipaldi F5A, the latter in second place in the pre-78 class. Steve Brooks and Katsu Kubota’s pair of Lotus 91s were just tenths apart in seventh and eighth respectively, with Lukas Halusa’s McLaren M23 a further five seconds behind, and third in the pre-78 class. Meanwhile, Briggs’ McLaren M29 had dropped into a gap between Halusa and Patrick d’Aubreby’s March 761.
At the front, five laps into the race, Cantillon’s lead over Werner had increased to 3.4 seconds as Padmore kept on hounding the newer Lotus ahead of him while having to keep an eye on Constable behind. Two more laps in and reaching the halfway point of the race, the Irishman’s first place was looking ever more secure, the Williams FW07C now in front by 4.6 seconds. Further back, Kubota had passed Brooks for seventh, the two 91s having switched order.
With ten minutes to go, Cantillon led the Werner-Padmore-Constable gaggle of cars by 6.5 seconds, the trio now having bunched up even more and following each nose-to-tail. D’Ansembourg was 15 seconds down on the leader, having dropped Griffiths by two seconds, while Kubota was inching away from Brooks who in turn saw Halusa chase him down, with Briggs rounding out the top-ten.
On lap 9, Constable made it stick to move into third, as Padmore began to drop away from the two more recent cars now ahead of him. Meanwhile, Cantillon had eased his pace as he consolidated his lead at a comfortable 6.3 seconds while towards the back of the top-ten Halusa had now usurped Brooks for eighth overall. After 11 laps, Marc Devis’ Surtees was the first car to retire, the TS16 suffering from overheating, joined by Bob Blain in the March 761.
At the front, Cantillon was in conservative mode but held on to win by 4.8 seconds from Werner, who was followed home by Constable and Padmore, the latter taking the pre-78 class win. 21 seconds down, d’Ansembourg was fifth, holding off Griffiths who took second place in the pre-78 class. Kubota, Halusa (third in the pre-78 class), Brooks and Briggs rounded out the top-ten. Next up were d’Aubreby’s March 761, the returning Max Smith-Hilliard in the Shadow DN5 and the post-82 class-winning Williams FW08 of Mark Hazell.