Six-wheel Stretton Cleans Up At Brands TGP Opener

Martin Stretton’s scorching pace in the ex-Ronnie Peterson Tyrrell P34-6 sent him clear of the largest ever grid of 3-litre Formula One machines to win the opening round of the FIA Cup for Thoroughbred Grand Prix Cars at Brands Hatch on April 9.

After an aborted first start, due to an incident which eliminated two cars, 26 began an F1 swansong for the long circuit, which first hosted the British GP in 1964. Only Brands specialist John Wilson kept Stretton in sight.

Stretton and Wilson (Williams FW08C-09) both lapped the 2.6-mile course within 1m20sec during qualifying, with Richard Eyre and Duncan Dayton, making the debut of Williams FW08-03 and FW07C-15 respectively, hot on their heels.

The Tyrrell — which had shed a front rim in practice — looked most sure-footed in the treacherous conditions which greeted competitors after overnight rain. Despite a bold late bid by Wilson, Stretton was always in charge.

Steve Hitchins guided his Lotus 91 to third as Dayton inadvertently nudged Eyre at Dingle Dell, putting both out. Christian Glasel, gaining confidence in his ex-Pattese Brabham BT49D, was best of the eight series rookies who took the restart.

Ensign veteran Mike Whatley beat Aaron Hsu (Williams FW07B) and John Kent (Shadow DN9B) for fifth, while Joaquin Folch blasted his Lotus 91 from the pitlane to eighth.

A seven-car scrap raged in midfield until Chris Perkins shook his Surtees TS16 free as Hubertus Bahlsen spun his Arrows A4 and Alistair Morrison lost the nosecone from his Benetton Tyrrell in a bid to stave off David Coplowe’s Lotus 87B.

The series goes to Monza on May 14, where 35 cars are expected. MP