WITH race Meetings scheduled in three different countries on the same weekend, Barcelona’s Formula Two event around the scenic Montjuich circuit in the city’s park might well have suffered badly. This however, was very far from the case and in spite of a few nonstarters there were 31 cars in the paddock vying for the 22 available places on the grid and points in the European Trophy. Missing were Rindt and Stewart (in Formula One cars at Silverstone), while Sports-car men Beltoise, Pescarolo and Stommelen were all racing at Monza in the 1,000 km. on the previous day. The three Monza men were all flown to Spain especially for the Barcelona race and had to qualify for grid positions on the morning of the race. They all fared differently and it was Pescarolo (the only nongraded name among them!) who came off best, for he climbed straight into Bob Gerard’s Brabham BT30 with a determined set to his jaw and dis-placed Derek Bell’s Brabham from pole position, earned in three hard days of practice. Bell replied with another fast lap, trying the car’s handling with lull tanks, for second best time. The front row was completed by John Watson, a 23-year-old from Belfast, who was having only his third ever Formula Two race!
One suspects that Bell feels a little overshadowed when there are top graded drivers present in Formula Two, for his performance from the moment when the flag went down was confident and assured. Even Pescarolo must have been a little surprised when the Englishman, driving an identical car, not only assumed the lead but also starred to pull away, throwing the orange Brabham around Barcelona on the way to avenging a defeat at Pescarolo’s hands in a Formula Three race three years earlier.
Pescarolo’s engine seemed to have a slight misfire out of the slower corners, apparently caused by a fuel-pump fault, and he spun harmlessly on lap 11. This allowed his Matra sports-car team-mate Cevert to pass in his Tecno, although Pescarolo was able to make up lost ground and pass the Tecno, shortly after which Cevert made a pit stop and ultimately crashed when a tyre punctured.
Behind these three raged a long, arduous and tremendously close-fought battle. To start with, this was led by Argentinian Carlos Reutemann, with Tecno team-leader Regazzoni and newcomer Vittorio Brambilla giving him a very hard time indeed.
Brambilla is the brother or former works Ferrari driver Tino Brambilla and was having his very first Formula Two race. He is equipped with a 1967 Brabham two years older than anything else which has raced seriously this year which looks most untidy, as does Brambilla’s driving. He was not long in falling out of the race after his gearbox broke.
Regazzoni was a bit detuned as the result of a wheel falling off his Tecno in practice that morning, so when Reutemann fell back with clutch trouble, the next to shoot through into fourth place was Tim Schenken. He came to an untimely halt when a wire fell off the condenser of his Brabham’s engine.
Thus it was Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi who battled through to lead the remainder of the pack, promoted to a fine third place on Cevert’s retirement. Fourth was Robin Widdows, marginally ahead of the Austrian former saloon-car driver Dieter Quester whose BMW went very well for a change.
Retirements included Beltoise, whose Pygmee’s brakes wore themselves out in the early stages after he had climbed into the third-place bunch, and Watson, who made a miserable start. He then lost his nose cone on the first lap in a brush with a barrier and then pulled up with a petrol leak after struggling hard to make up time. Nevertheless for one so young and inexperienced he is making a first-class impression.
Some people dislike the guardrails which now surround the entire Barcelona circuit; nevertheless, it remains one of the most picturesque venues for racing anywhere in Europe and Bell well deserves the good lead which he has amassed in the European Trophy for non-graded drivers having scored good points in all three rounds.
5th GRAN PREMIO BARCELONA-Formula Two-Barcelona
45 laps-160.55 kilometres-Strong sunshine
1st: D. Bell (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 08 min. 07.7 sec.-141.4 k.p.h.
2nd: H. Pescarolo (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 08 min. 29.6 sec.
3rd: E. Fittipaldi (Lotus 69-Cosworth FVA) .. 44 laps
4th: R. Widdows (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 44 laps
5th: D. Quester (BMW 269) .. 44 laps
6th: C. Reutemann (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 44 laps
Fastest lap: D. Bell (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) on lap 42 in 1 min. 29.5 sec.-151.7 k.p.h.
22 starters – 12 finishers
NÜRBURGRING, May 3rd
WHILE others were battling their way around Sicily’s Little Madonie circuit in sports cars, Jochen Rindt was achieving an ambition by winning the Formula Two Eifelrennen around the Nürburgring. His serious opposition was restricted to Derek Bell and Rolf Stommelen, the latter being released from his Alfa Romeo commitments for this race on home territory. The young German, dissatisfied with his March, had changed to a new Brabham.
The race itself was one of the less exciting events in the calendar for spectators, although for drivers there is the constant thought that either their memory will fail and send them flying off into the forests or that their car might be a little fragile over the leaps and bumps.
After one dry and one wet day of practice, poleman was private Brabham-owner Peter Westbury. On a still damp track, Westbury was outbraked by Rindt at the South Curve and no one saw the Austrian again except for one or two souls circulating gingerly at the back of the field. Westbury had an exciting spin on the first lap, but continued, although one or two others also spun round the back and were not so lucky. Crashes claimed several normally steady drivers and it was another calamitous day for BMW, all three of whose cars retired.
Stommelen made a poor start and started to haul in the less experienced Formula Two newcomers, many of whom were having their first race at the Nürburgring. Among these was Emerson Fittipaldi, who got away in tremendous style and managed to maintain second place for more than a lap until first Bell and then Stommelen put their circuit knowledge to good use and passed the Brazilian.
Of the several youngsters who have graduated to Formula Two from Formula Three since last season, Fittipaldi is undoubtedly the most impressive so far. Waltham nominee Schenken is dogged by trifling mechanical troubles. Wisell has only raced his Chevron twice, and Peterson, who is not happy about his March, has taken part in three meetings, starting two races without completing a single lap! At the Nürburgring his car broke a wishbone in early practice and was repaired for the second day, when he crashed. Another March also broke a wishbone in the race, although without major harm.—M. G. D
33rd ADAC EIFELRENNEN-Formula Two-Nürburgring
10 laps-228.35 kilometres-Damp and overcast
1st: J. Rindt (Lotus 69-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 23 min. 54.7 sec.-163.1 k.p.h.
2nd: D. Bell (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 24 min. 14.8 sec.
3rd: R. Stommelen (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 25 min. 46.4 sec.
4th: E. Fittipaldi (Lotus 69-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 25 min. 19.4 sec.
5th: P. Westbury (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 26 min. 46.0 sec.
6th: R. Widdows (Brabham BT30-Cosworth FVA) .. 1 hr. 27 min. 31.9 sec.
Fastest lap: J. Rindt (Lotus 69-Cosworth FVA) on lap 9, in 8 min. 16.2 sec.-165.7 k.p.h.