Monaco welcomes back historic racers

The highlight of the second Grand Prix historique de Monaco was when Ferrari's 1955 Super Squalo finally came good, with Martin Stretton triumphing in the Pre-'61 GP car feature.

Stretton grabbed pole from Alain de Cadenet's Connaught and Nigel Corner in Fangio's 1957 race-winning Maserati. Stretton and Corner enjoyed a titanic struggle the only real lead battle all weekend until Corner's gearbox broke.

Said Stretton: "Nigel went past up the hill on the first lap, but left a gap going into Casino Square." After the Maserati failed, he was home and dry until Klaus Edel's 250F dropped oil all over the track at Ste Devote.

"I'd never seen so much oil," Stretton continued, "and with a car spinning ahead of me, and the Maser trailing fluid, I stood on everything to stop," said Stretton, who by this time had a 12 sec lead over Burkhard von Schenlc's 250F. He and Willie Green's recalcitrant Mercedes-Benz W196 slithered through, but behind cars went everywhere. With Gregor Fisken's third placed Cooper-Bristol among many to skate off, and Spencer Flack's fifth-placed version clouting the barrier, the race was stopped. In the Pre-'59 sportscar race, Le Mans regular Claudia Hiirtgen enjoyed a fine win over many of the historic racing greats on board Klaus Werner's Maserati 300S. She at first put a few well established noses out of joint when she planted the Maserati on pole and, at the flag, promptly raced away around the streets to claim a well deserved victory. Frank Sytner's race was temporarily interrupted when his Ferrari Testa Rossa clobbered a wayward Porsche but it did not stop him coming home in second place.

Behind him came Flavien Marcaus in Aubrey Finburgh's Jaguar C-type, after Julian Bronson's HWM-Jaguar picked up a puncture.

The other surprise of the weekend came in the Formula Junior race when Denis Welch in a Merlyn Mk5 trumped triple FIA champion Tony Thompson's Lotus 27 for a brilliant maiden victory in the Principality. Welch outqualified the all-star Junior field by more than 4sec and disappeared at the start.

"I've waited a long time for a Junior win," said Welch, "so this is magic. I'd never classed myself as that good a driver, but to see Stirling Moss half out of his car, waving and cheering as I came in, was incredible."

Joaquin Folch's 27 was a distant third, Peter Arundell's Lotus 22 was fourth in Martin Walford's hands, and Robin Longdon brought Richard Attwood's '63-winning Lola Mk5A home sixth, behind Stephan Jocher's Brabham. In the Pre-'66 Fl race, Duncan Dayton, like Stretton a winner at the inaugural event in 1997, matched the Briton's double, this time with the ex-Bob Anderson Brabham BT11. James King's ex-Dan Gurney BT7 was third, behind Paul Alexander's BRM P261, while Sir Stirling Moss delighted the 5000 spectators by finishing seventh in a Cooper.

Barrie Williams brought the green ERA R3A from the back of the grid to third in the Pre-'52 GP car race, only Irvine Laidlaw's Maserati 6CM and John Ure's winning ERA R9B remaining out of reach. Charles Dean chased runaway winner Julian Majzub's Bugatti T35B all the way in the Pre-'34 event. All winners received their prizes from Prince Albert at a magnificent gala dinner afterwards. MP