Pau, France April 21st
One of the quirks of the International calendar is that the Formula Two races at the Nurburgring and Pau often clash, and as the Pau race is longer established it usually receives the better entry. This year, however, there are so many Formula Two cars that both races were well subscribed with the French organisers picking the 14 cars they thought best, this number being quite enough to fill this 2.7-kilometre road circuit within the shadow of the Pyrenees. The entries included Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt, who are certainly the top two drivers in Formula Two racing this year, plus the four regular French F.2 drivers, Beltoise and Pescarolo in works Matras and Schlesser and Ligier in their McLarens. There were also works McLarens for Widdows and New Zealander Lawrence, Regazzoni in the works Tecno, Gethin in the works Chevron, private Lolas for Spaniards Soler-Roig, de Bagration and Englishman Chris Williams plus Rees in a Winkelmann Brabham, team-mate to Rindt.
Rindt took pole position in practice with a time of 1 min. 20.5 sec., just 0.1 sec. off the record, with Beltoise second fastest and Stewart in his Matra third. From the start it was these three who made the running, with Rindt out ahead from Stewart and Beltoise, while the rest of the field obviously were not quite in the same class as this trio. Stewart was pressing Rindt hard, and with ten laps run of the 70-lap race the Austrian spun the car at a hairpin and Stewart immediately gained a good lead.
Rindt got away in second place and started to chase Stewart hard, but another 11 laps later he found a backmarker in the way and hit him in the rear. Little damage was done, but the impact was just enough to split a hose from the water radiator. From then on it was Stewart’s race, and he started to lap the complete field while the circuit, which makes a racing car and driver work very hard, was taking its toll. Rees and Williams collided and their spinning cars were collected by Pescarolo who, having been delayed earlier, was about to pass them for sixth place. Both his Matra and the Winkelmann Brabham were badly damaged, but Williams continued, and then Schlesser, who was in a strong third place after Rindt’s retirement, lost control and hit a lamp post—there is no room for error on a road course like this.
Beltoise, by then the only driver not lapped, lost his second place a few laps from the end when the gear linkage came adrift, but after a quick pit stop he moved back to third place and just failed to snatch second front Widdows, who all this time had been driving consistently despite a second gear which sometimes would not engage. This left Stewart the worthy winner almost two laps ahead of second man Widdows with Beltoise third. Gethin was fourth two laps behind the winner, followed by Ligier, a further lap in arrears. Regazzoni put up a good show in the Italian Tecno only to spoil it and lose his third place three laps from the end when he ran off the road. However, he was still classified sixth. To Stewart went a new record for the Pau circuit. Unfortunately we were sad to learn that there is a move afoot to build a permanent circuit outside the town and do away with this exciting road course which brings the very best out in man and machine.
There was a supporting Formula Three race with a top-class field which was dominated from beginning to end by the American, Pike, in his works Titan, built in Highgate, North London. The promising Swede, Wisell was second in his Tecno.—A. R. M.