Private BMWs Sweep
Th 1974 European Touring Car Championship started with a closely contested yet strangely disappointing race at Monza. Neither the Ford nor the BMW works teams entered owing to their severely curtailed competition budgets, whilst the SCA Chevrolet Camaro that Frank Gardner and Brian Muir were to drive fell foul of engine problems in practice and withdrew.
A strong contingent of last year’s works and Alpina BMWs were entered by privateers, however, and although none had the latest 24-valve, 400 b.h.p. engines these filled the first four places on the grid. Harald Ertl was fastest in the Alpina coupe he was to share with Rikky Von Opel, with the Schnitzer CSL of Walter Brun and Paul Keller next quickest.
Ertl led Brun from the start, both initially under great pressure from the BMWs of Manfred Mohr and Alain Peltier. Mohr fell back to retire with a broken clutch, while Peltier circulated a safe third, but Brun stayed within a second of Ertl until the first round of pit-stops after ninety minutes’ racing. Soon afterwards a wheel bearing collapsed on the Ertl/Von Opel car and no sooner had this been repaired than it blew its engine. Keller and Brun were left with a secure lead but after 85 laps they too retired when they lost a wheel at Lesmo. This incident handed victory to Peltier/Lafosse, although they won by barely a minute from Werner Schommer/Errist Kraus, who had passed Siegfried Mueller/Sigmund Ogrodowczik an hour from the finish.
The two-litre class-winning Escort of Heyer/Kautz was the first Ford home in fifth place behind another BMW CSL driven by Mattli/Zondler, but only after the Capri of Hezemans and Akersloot had first run a wheel bearing and then broken the drive to its oil pump. – J.C.T.
4 hours of Monza—April 24th—Group 2—Monza
1st : A. Peltier/J-L. Lafosse (3.5 BMW CSL) 128 laps, 738.560 kms.-183.817 k.p.h.
2nd: W. Schommer/E. Kraus (3.5 BMW CSL) 128 laps
3rd: S. Mueller/S. Ogrodowczik (3.5 BMW Alpine) 127 lap
4th : P. Mattli/U. Zondler (3.5 BMW CSL) 127 laps
5th : H. Heyer/H. Kautz (2.0 Ford Escort BDA) 125 laps
6th : W. May/T. Herlitze (2.0 BMW 2002) 120 laps