Third time was very lucky for Swedish Toleman-Hart driver Stefan Johansson at Hockenheim on April 5. Johansson, won his third ever Formula Two race driving for the works assisted DS Team Toleman. He started the race, the second round of this year’s European Championship, from a mid-field grid position but rapidly sliced through the pack to catch up with the leading quintet, which consisted of the Ralt-Hondas of Mike Thackwell and Geoff Lees, the Ralt-BMW of Manfred Winkelhock, the March-BMW of Riccardo Paletti and the Maurer-BMW of Eje Elgh.
The Maurer was suffering from a lack of straightline speed so Johansson was soon up to fifth place and when, on lap 23 of 30 the charging Paletti’s battery expired, Johansson found himself disputing third place with Winkelhock. Third place became second a couple of laps later when Thackwell, who had led for the majority of the distance, suffered a fuel pick up problem and fell back to fourth and then fifth place on the subsequent tour as Lees, whose tyres had deteriorated, spun. However, it looked as though Winkelhock, the local hero, was destined to claim that first place at the flag for each of Johansson’s doggedly determined attempts to pass was convincingly checked. But Johansson had a surprise up his sleeve. Entering the wide, sweeping hairpin bend known as the ‘Sachs Curve’ for the last time (with just two corners ahead of him) Johansson feinted a lunge for the inside, fooling Winkelhock into taking a tight line to block him, and then calmly drove around the outside of the German to claim a brilliant victory. Third place was salvaged by Thackwell, fourth by Elgh and fifth by Lees while Carlo Rossi in another Toleman-Hart took the last point for sixth place. — I.M.B.