Although Jaguar is out of the ETC for the time being, the TWR-prepared Rovers have carried on where the Big Cats left off, by scoring an emphatic 1-2-3 victory in the opening round at Monza, all cars finishing on the same lap. For the record, the driver pairings were: 1, Tom Walkinshaw / Win Percy; 2, Jean-Louis Schlesser / Jeff Allam and, 3, Armin Hahne / Eddy Joosen. Best placed of the opposition was the BMW 635CSi of Maurizio Micangeli / George Bosshard which finished fourth, a lap behind the winners.
Impressive, though, was the qualifying and early race speed of the Eggenberger Volvos.
“Mercedes-Benz Return To Racing” has been a regular headline over the years but now there is some truth in the rumour. Two Sauber Group C cars have been entered for Le Mans and they are fitted with twin-turbo versions of the 5-litre V8 Mercedes-Benz production engine specially developed by Heini Mader. Although the Trimoco RAC British Saloon Car Championship seems short on runners this year (a legacy from the disgraceful proceedings of the 1983 series, perhaps) there is no shortage of variety among the few cars contesting the largest class. Barry Sheene has proved himself to be immediately on the pace with a Toyota Supra. Andy Rouse, three times the British saloon car champion, took his Ford Sierra Turbo to a debut win at Oulton Park on Good Friday. David Brodie had an easy time of things three days later at Thruxton, qualifying his Mitsubishi Colt Starion three seconds ahead of the field and winning as he pleased. Neil McGrath has been impressive in his Rover Vitesse while Silverstone winner Frank Sytner has been showing all his usual fire in a left hand drive BMW 635 CSI (he reckons the left hooker is better because that’s the way the car was designed). This year, the big car class could go to any of the drivers named.
With wins in both the F3 races supporting F3000 at Silverstone and Thruxton, Russell Spence now leads the championship from Andy Wallace, who won first time out at Silverstone, had problems in the second race, stalled on the line at Easter Monday Thruxton but tigered through the field to finish third, and who won again at Donington. Both drivers are using Reynard-VWs.
Reynards have not only won the first five races of the season but, since the Saab-engined cars have begun to improve, have dominated the points table as well, only Mauricio Gugelmin, who led at Thruxton in his Ralt RT30 but who spun away his lead under pressure from Russell Spence on the last lap when both men were on slicks on a track which had become very wet, has looked like challenging the Reynard supremacy. The Madgwick Motorsport run Saab-engined cars of Maurizio Sandro Sala and Antony Reid, finished in the points at both Thruxton and Donington. The original “hotwire” Bosch management system has been abandoned in favour of the Lucas system but the cars still lack power under 5,400 rpm while the VW units begin to deliver at 5,000 rpm. Since, in both cases, the maximum revs attainable are a little over 6,000 rpm, both Sala and Reid are presently at a disadvantage.
Leader in class 6, with three wins out of five starts is Carlton Tingling (Ralt RT3) who must have the tightest budget in F3. It’s nice to see that sometimes the hard trier can be successful.
Dave Price Racing, which last year steered Johnny Dumfries to victory in the British Championship and a moral victory in the European series, has ordered three new Reynards, to be delivered early in May and the other two of the next batch are destined for Dave Scott and Bert Scafer. *
Three recent accessories which have come on the market have caught our eyes. The first is a race and rally sticker sheet (decals for general circuit breaker, blood groups etc) from Autolec, West Molesey, Surrey which costs just £1. The second which will be of particular interest to drivers of open topped cars, is a security device called “Gear Lock ’85”. This basically consists of a sturdy steel tube which goes over the handbrake lever while the other end locks around the gear lever. Once adjusted to an individual car, it can be fitted or removed in seconds and should deter all but the most professional car thieves. It goes on sale at around £16.50 from most usual retail outlets.
The third clever idea comes from Sweden. and was developed in rallying. It is the “Super Washwiper” which funnels the washing liquid through the rubber blades and onto the windscreen in front the blades in both directions of travel, thus ensuring properly washed screens under all conditions. The kits cost between £11.50 and £13.50, depending on blade size and available from Nimrod Marketing, 1 Mount Street, London W1Y 5HA