Around the tracks

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Monaco: Grand Prix Historique

Dayton leads American invasion of Monte Carlo

No American has won the Monaco Grand Prix, but American drivers dominated its Historique counterpart on May 15-16, scoring three wins from six races and setting the fastest lap of the meeting.

Duncan Dayton was the star of the show with back-to-back victories. He scored the first of these aboard his Lotus 16. He was pipped for pole in the race for pre-1961 front-engined GP cars by the sister machine of Joaquin Folch, and they passed and repassed each other in the early stages. But once in the lead for a second time, Dayton controlled proceedings.

His second victory was rather more fortuitous. Flavien Marçais appeared to have matters wrapped up in the encounter for pre-1966 GP cars thanks to a display of effortless speed in Robs Lamplough’s four-cylinder Lotus 21. But the Frenchman made a “novice’s mistake” and spun at the chicane in the closing laps, and Dayton, in his VS Climax-engined Brabham BT11, swept past for win number two.

Marçais had been tipped for three victories, and he’d began well with a comfortable win in the pre-1953 drum-braked sportscar race aboard a Jaguar C-type. Monaco, however, is always liable to bite back…

After his Lotus disappointment — he recovered to finish second — Marçais suffered a bigger mishap in the meeting’s fastest race, the event for pre-1977 GP cars. He’d been brilliant in qualifying in Phil Walker’s Brabham BT26 to keep the pressure on the far more modem cars of Martin Stretton (Tyrrell P34) and Frank Sytner, having a first run in his Penske PC3.

Marçais got between the Brits on the opening lap, only to spin it away on the next, spearing backwards into the barriers on the entry to Casino Square. He admitted later that he had been pushing too hard, too soon on tyres that were too cold. His demise left the race wide open for Stretton, who won by a big margin from Sytner. He didn’t set the fastest lap, however. That went to American Danny Baker in a Shadow DN5, who had started well back because of problems in practice, and who might have been a threat to Sytner’s second place had he not spun earlier in the race.

America’s other Monaco winner was Joe Colasacco, who secured the front-engined Formula Junior spoils in a Stanguellini. Race favourite Robin Longden had grabbed an early lead, but spun his Lola in Casino Square on the first lap. He resumed and set fastest lap, but was black-flagged because his tail section was dragging on the track.

The numerically superior British contingent did score a second win, however. John Ure’s ERA R9B was kept honest in the pre-1947 GP and Voiturette race by the Maserati 6CM of Monaco resident Irvine Laidlaw until the latter was baulked by side-by-side backmarkers going up the hill. Thereafter, Ure was unchallenged, while Irvine spun trying to regain lost ground and fell to third behind the 6CM of Stefan Schollwoeck.

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