Silverstone, May 11th
For Silverstone, Lancia again had the only tour factory team, with Alboreto returning to partner rally star Walter Rohrl, and Eddie Cheever joining Riccardo Patrese in what was meant to be “the hare”. Main de Cadenet kept Desire Wilson as his co-driver, Jurgen Barth rejoined Siegfried Brass in the German dentist’s venerable Porsche 908 (a veritable museum piece, but still quick), and the Torino Corse Osella was again destined for Lombardi and Brambilla.
Three other very rapid cars had not been seen before in European endurance races, and two of them mom on the front row. Fastest of all, with a best ever Gp 5 lap of 1 min. 22.09 sec., was the Kremer team’s Porsche 935 K3, driven at Silverstone by John Fitzpatrick, Guy Edwards and And Plankenhorn. Second quickest, albeit 2.4 sec. slower, was a brand new Op 6 Co Mans can from Switzerland, the ACR Longincs DFV. Patrick Gaillard was its number one pilot, the Frenchman having owner Andre Chevalley and Francois Trisconi as partners. The two works Lancias filled the sccond rank of a 26-car grid, and then followed the Osella-BMW PA8. the De Cadenet DFV, and the other “newcomer”, the Porsche 935 K3 of America’s John Paul and Britain’s Brian Redman. Disappointing non-starters included Ian Braccy’s new lb. Pb and the Janspeed:ADA built V8 TR7, both of them destined for Cr Mans.
From the opening seconds of the moo it was clear that the Kremer 935 was in a different class from everything el. — especially as the ACR had encountered engine trouble as early as the pace lap! Taking the first stint, Edwards flew away from the pack, increasing his lead with eve, lap until hr had to refill the car’s 28-gallon tanks after only 34 laps.
Behind him, battle raged between de Cadenet, Paul. and England’s John Cooper in a Charles co prepared Porsche 935 K3. Both works Lancia& stopped for a change of plugs within the first few minutes, and Fumes car departed spectacularly from thr fray at Stowe when a mar wheel broke up on lap 29. When the leader refuelled for the first time, only 50 minutes after the start, Fitzpatrick replaced Edwards and set off in third place. Paul’s Porsche had been delayed by slight overheating, a fresh powerplant having been required after an engine failure in practice, while C..00per’s opening charge ended when his Porsche’s motor cut out for a minute or two. So noW it was a three-way duel for the lead, with de Caterro out front, Barth’s 908 in second place and catching, and Fitz’s 935 third but overhauling both of them. From laps 42 to 52 de Cadenet and Barth were only yards apart. Then. as the British car refuelled for the first time, Fitzpatrick passed
Barth to take the lead. But on lap 68, he had to stop again, for the 3.2-litre 935 Turbo does only 3.6 miles to the gallon. Fitz stayed at the wheel, and restarted still in front of de Cadenct, but all was not well with the leader.
Mid-way through Fitzpatrick’s sccond stint the 935 began to puff smoke from its exhaust on eve, gearchangc. Very slowly, the smoke increased. On lap 98, during the car’s third fuel stop, Fitzpatrick made way for Plankenhorn. The German rejoined the race still the leader, but only just, and next time round de Cadcnct led. When the British car made its second scheduled pit visit at almost exactly half distance, Desire Wilson took command of the car. By the time she was on her way, Plankenhorn had regained she initiative, but at Club Comer on her very first lap Mrs. Wilson snatched back the advantage. Fifteen minutes later the Kremer 935 expired in a billow of oil smoke, its engine finished. From there to the finish the race was a running battle between Wilson’s De Cadenct and the 908 of Barth and Brunn. Yet it was hardly an equal contest, for the British car had begun to misfire badly, the result of fluctuating fuel pressure. The South African girl was having to hammer it through the corners very close to the limn to counteract the restricted power output. Later in
the race, however, the tables turned a little, when the Porsche also lost power because of a sticking throttle slide.
From exactly a lap at the three-hour mark, Desire’s advantage shrank to eight seconds with 100 minutes to go. Then overheated brakes forced her to miss out the Woodcote chicane, earning a one lap penalty and effectively handing the aged Porsche a long lead. But Wilson fought back with a vengeance, wid when Boson replaced Barth, she reeled him in at four seconds a lap. After refuelling for the last time some 90 minutes from the finish, Desire had in effect a one and a half lap deficit to overcome. With 73 minutes left, she untapped herself. Eight minutes later Brunn made an extra, quick pitstop, and the gap plummeted to only 39 seconds. The De Cadences DFV sounded terrible, but Wilson was driving for all she was worth, and with 26 minutes to go she took the lead between Abbey and Woodcotc. So De Cadenet and Wilson took their second consecutive long distance win in a fortnight. The Brunn/Barth 908 came a gallant second, less than half a minute down, and third was the Porsche 935 of Paul and Redman. This was so nearly a last-minute non-finisher, for it devoured a piston just three minutes from time, but Brian kept it running amidst plumes of oil smoke for the vital couple of laps. Three laps down, R6hrl and Alboreto kept Lancia ahead in the championship by coming fourth, well ahead of two more German driven 935s. They were easy winners of the 2-litre division in the end. although that honour had seemed destined for the BrambillaiLombardi °sena. which had been contesting third place with the Paul Redman Porsche until eliminated by ignition failure live hours after she start. `6″.ath.:.. H. Grohs (3.Vcni=trcen’ Oth E. Door up,. Laessig (3.1 lc Porsche 935 It31
101 lazrzrAnintr.r.;:rnzz,3:„72.1″7. 68,61 miles 67177Mlel 678.55 miles 606 63 …les 603.67 rn.les SILVERSTONE SIX HOURS — sports cars — six hours szactly — 234.5 laps 1st A. de C ot/D. Wilson (3.0 De Cationet OFV I
Fattlitf lap: J. Fitzpatrick I3.2 :oarz1,7 937,,It;:hron;sn 25.53 sec — 123.41 ns.p.h.