ADAC 1,000 Kilometres

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Having just had their Monza victory confirmed following an appeal to the ruling body, Derek Bell and Stefan Bellof went ahead in the World Endurance Championship for Drivers with a very narrow victory on the new Nürburgring circuit, 4.55 kilometres of twisting, plunging track which puts heavy demands on good braking. The more important Constructors’ Championship is already a foregone conclusion since Porsche have now won all four rounds, and with 80 points in the bag the Stuttgart company cannot be beaten, since Lancia will not be competing at Mosport this month, nor at Fuji in September.

Stefan Bellof took pole position at 1 min 28.68 sec (184.384 kph), but he is clearly the fastest member of the team in qualifying. What was more interesting, perhaps, was that Harald Grohs was only 0.13 sec slower in Walter Bern’s Porsche 956, paired with Hans Stuck. Jonathan Palmer in the Canon Porsche, Bob Wollek in the more powerful Lancia-Martini and Jochen Mass all cracked the psychologically important 1 min 30 sec barrier during practice.

Time and again the Lancias flatter, only to deceive. At Le Mans they showed new-found speed and reliability, for without announcement they had increased the engine capacity to three-litres and the power output to 680 bhp in race trim. The Italians declared their bigger engines at the Nurburgring, saying that they had 720 bhp available with 1.5 bar boost for practising, but it has to be said that if they had some 100 bhp more than the Porsches, it was never evident.

Bellof went into the lead from the start With Hans Stuck and Jonathan Palmer giving chase, and within ten laps we had the unusual sight of the quickest works Porsche dropping back to third place, Stuck taking the lead on lap four with Palmer close by. The two Rothmans-Porsches settled down in third and fourth places, unchallenged by Wollek’s Lancia, Thierry Boutsen’s Skoal Bandit Porsche 956, Nannini’s Lancia, Oscar Larrauri’s Gaggia Porsche 956, and Manfred Winkelhock in Erwin Kremer’s unsponsored Porsche 956. The remainder of the 44 starters had been lapped after 16 rounds, but these were the nine cars that would provide the real contest. Erith Zakowski’s Zakspeed C8, powered by a 3.3litre Cosworth DFL engine, had shown a good turn of speed during practice, but retired on the third lap with a broken driveshaft, so the two Lancia-Martinis were: the only cars left that could possibly challenge Porsche’s supremacy.

Bell emerged in the lead after the first pit stops but Lammers had him within range, and the Canon Porsche went ahead for much of the second hour, Grohs’ Porsche dropping back temporarily when the driving seat broke. The second stops brought a setback for the Canon team when the pad change proved difficult, but Jochen Mass was even more badly delayed when the pads wouldn’t slide home on the left front caliper. Neither car really recovered, and it did not now look as though the Lancias would be much of a threat since their engines were misfiring badly, due to a fault on the injection side of their Weber-Marelli engine management systems.

In the third hour the Boutsen / Hobbs Porsche had come up into the reckoning, running for the first time this season the Goodyear tyres rather than the Japanese Yokohamas which seem to lack grip. The drivers were delighted with their new-found competitiveness, and went into the lead before half-distance. Now it began to rain heavily and Hans Snick, attempting to pass a slower car, pulled out into the spray and slammed into the back of a Group B Porsche 930, wrecking the front of his 956. Bob Wollek took a trip over the kerbstones and shredded the nose of his Lancia, so team manager Cesare Fiorio put Riccardo Patrese into the better placed Lancia which was still running in third place, apparently not slowed by the misfire.

In the C2 class, the Gordon Spice Tiga with 3.3-litres of Cosworth DFL power was having a field day, helped by mechanical unreliability among the Italian Albas. Facetti’s broke its selector forks and the Duracell-sponsored car had engine failure, but Spice, with Ray Bellm and Neil Crang, was enjoying a fast and trouble-free run which earned him a fine class victory, seven laps ahead of Jim Busby’s BFG Mazda-Lola.

Now it was certain that the race would last six hours and the teams began to plan accordingly. Hobbs and Bell were on the same lap with 75 min to run, Ickx / Mass and the Lancia a lap down, though Mass was about to have a replay of the pad installation problems which would put him out of contention. With 67 min remaining Hobbs handed over to Boutsen, but the Belgian had difficulty starting the engine and a minute was lost, so they were in second place though still on the same lap.

Half an hour remaining, and Bellof made his last pit stop which included a pad change, so he was now 88 sec down. Then, with 11 min to go Boutsen made his last stop, handing over to Hobbs for the sprint to the line (Boutsen had used up his maximum of four hours at the wheel). Hobbs went back on the road with a scant 10 sec in hand, and it looked as though the finish would be desperately close but Boutsen already knew the outcome, since the Skoal car had no brakes left. Inevitably then, Bellof snatched the lead six minutes from home, and pulled out 15 sec before the flag was shown.

After all, the wisdom of FISA in rigging the rules has paid off, just as it usually pays off when the Americans juggle the rulebook to find equality among the teams. There is so little to choose now between the works Porsches, the customer Porsches and the Lancias for that matter that the outcome is always in doubt. So now we are going to have a fresh set of rules for 1985.— M.L.C.

RESULTS
ADAC 1,000 KILOMETRES – 4th round of thea 1984 World Endurance Championship — July 15th — 207 laps (941 kms) — Weather, wet for an hour
1st : S Bellof/D.Bell ……………………………..(2.6t/cRothmans Porsche956) …………….6 hr. 0 min. 43.59 sec. (156. 383 kph)
2nd : D Hobbs / T. Boutsen ……………………(2.6 t/c Skoal-Porsche 956) …………………6 hr. 0 min. 59.27 sec.
3rd : A Nannini / P. Barilla / R. Patrese …….(3.0 t/c Lancia-Martini) ………………………206 laps.
4th : J. Palmer/J. Lammers/C Danner ………(2.6 t/c Canon-Porsche 956) ………………205 laps.
5th : M. Winkelhock / M. Surer ……………….(2.6 t/c Kramer Porsche / 956) ………….. 204 laps
6th : O. Larrauri / M. Sigala …………………….(2.6 t/c Gaggia Porsche 956) ……………..203 laps.
7th : J Ickx / J Mass ……………………………..(2.6 t/c Rothmans-Porsche 956)…………. 202 laps.
8th : H.Pescarolo/S.Johansson/A. Senna… (2.6 t/c New Man Porsche 956) …………..197 laps.
9th : W Brun/L. von Bayern …………………….(2.6 t/c Brun Porsche 956) ………………….196 laps.
10th : J. Winter / D. Schornstein / V. Merl ….(2.6 t/c Porsche 956) …………………………194 laps.
Fastest lap: J. Palmer, 1 min. 32.75 sec. (176.293 kph).

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