Fenning's Victory Splash

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Round Two of the FlA Cup for Thoroughbred Grand Prix Cars with MOTOR SPORT fell on a soaking Magny-Cours circuit

John Fenning was the deserved victor of the rain-blighted third race in the FIA Cup at Magny-Cours. Fenning, racing the same ex-Alan Jones Williams FW07 which was driven to victory at Donington Park two weeks earlier by Mike Littlewood, had been strongly challenged in practice by Bob Berridge in the RAM 01, but managed to produce a simply stunning lap to snatch pole. Others to show well in practice included French-domiciled classic car dealer Steve Hitchins (Lotus 78) and Mike Wrigley, who was really getting to grips with his Shadow DN9B.

An almost constant drizzle blighted race day, but the grid formed up on a circuit which was dry enough to warrant the use of slicks by all starters. Sadly missing from the field was second-position man Bob Berridge, the engine of the RAM showing renewed signs of the overheating which had caused his DFV to self-destruct at Round One. However, Hitchins soon showed that his tigering performance at Donington had been no flash in the pan, and he immediately set about Fenning. Ermanno Ronchi lay third in the Brabham BT49, and the impressive Michael Schryver, revelling in the damp conditions, was soon up to fourth with his Lotus 72, one of the oldest cars in the field. The lead changed several times between Hitchins and Fenning as the drizzle increased, and the greasy track accounted for Class B leader Richard Gann (McLaren 26) who spun off just seconds after wresting the class lead from Andrew Wareing.

After a super dice, Hitchins’ bid for victory faded when the rear wing of his Lotus worked loose and he was black-flagged. Ronchi challenged Fenning briefly but was unable to match the speed of the Williams in the increasingly difficult conditions. Michael Schryver came home in a very well deserved third place (thereby snatching the Championship lead), with Mike Wrigley in fourth, Mark Linstone in the ex-Hill Brabham BT34 fifth, and Andrew Wareing sixth. Joaquin Folch made a brave decision to pit for wets a few laps from the end but was unable to capitalise on their advantage, finishing a disappointed seventh.

The Anderstorp and Nurburgring rounds will have taken place by the time this comes out, and the final is at Brno, September 28/29. But closer to home is the two-day Donington meeting on Aug 30/Sep 1.

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