Formula Two Eifelrennen

Nurburgring, Germany April 21st

After Graham Hill had withdrawn, Surtees had substituted Irwin in his Lola, due to his being delayed in Japan, and Ferrari had replaced Amon by Brian Redman, the Eifelrennen Formula Two race took on a much more reasonable aspect and became a very open 30-lap race over the 7.747-kilometre South Circuit. Formula Two should be a training ground for drivers, teams, designers and mechanics to make progress towards Grand Prix racing, so that when races are monopolised by Grand Prix drivers and teams, as were a lot of them last year, or dominated by one “star” driver such as the Easter Thruxton meeting recently, it seems to lose its objective.

The Eifel race saw Ickx and Redman driving works Ferraris with the latest 24-Valve V6-Dino engines, severely opposed by Courage (Brabham), Oliver (Lotus), Irwin (Lola), Bell (Brabham) and Ahrens (Brabham), all with Cosworth FVA engines, while numerous private owners made up the field, together with the Ron Harris pair of Protos-Cosworth FVA cars, driven by Rodriguez and Elford, the latter making his first essay into single-seater racing. Last year this meeting was held in rain and snow, this year it was a heat wave and before the start the forests caught fire and delayed things for 1½ hours. The opening laps were a splendid scrap between Ahrens (Brabham), Ickx (Ferrari), Courage (Brabham), Redman (Ferrari) and Irwin (Lola), with Bell (Brabham) and Oliver (Lotus) not far behind, the first three taking turns at leading, but on lap 4 Redman had to stop as a flying stone had smashed his goggles, and on lap 5 Ickx had to retire as another stone had punctured his radiator, these stones not being from the rough edges on the corners, but from the concrete breaking up on the pits straight. Redman had a badly bruised eye, but taking the only spare goggles in the Ferrari pit he moved back into the race in last position.

While the Ferraris were in trouble, so was Courage, for his engine cover had come undone and was waving in the breeze. The organisation took a lap to think about this and then gave him the black flag, and after fixing the cover the engine refused to start again as the starter had given up, so Courage was out. Ahrens had been in the lead, working away like a demon, but the smooth, unruffled Irwin soon overhauled him and then it was all over, the Lola having a trouble-free run from lap 10 to the end.

From rejoining the race in last position Redman did a very fine drive up to fourth place by lap 15, but Irwin, Ahrens and Bell were too far ahead for him to get any higher, even though he set up a new lap record in his efforts. He was severely handicapped by a badly bruised left eye, and the fact that the goggles he snatched up in the pit stop were a pair of sun-goggles, with dark lenses, so that by the end of the race it was like night-driving under the trees. Among the remainder results speak for themselves; some were well prepared and gave their drivers a nice race, others just fell apart, some ran well and were driven slowly, others were driven fast but ran badly.D. S. J.