ETC Round 7: 6-hr Grand Prix Paul Ricard
VICTORY for Toine Hezemans/Dieter Quester (BMW 3.0 CSL) in the Paul Ricard 6-Hour race in the Castellet district of the South of France on September 2nd gave BMW an unassailable lead in the European Touring Car Championship. With one round remaining at the time of writing, the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone on September 23rd, BMW held 130 points to the 100 each of Ford and Alfa Romeo, while the maximum points score per marque per event is 20 for a win.
The win confirmed also Hezemans as Drivers' Champion, the Dutch driver having won the previous two rounds with Quester and been placed second with various partners in another three rounds.
Paul Ricard saw BMW dominate a race completely once again, as might be expected when seven CSLs are pitted against a mere three Ford Capri RSs. Four CSLs remained at the finish—in the first four positions— before the remaining one of two works Capri RSs of Jackie Stewart/Jochen Mass limped across the line on five cylinders in fifth position. John Fitzpatrick/Gerard Larrousse had retired the other works Capri with a dropped valve with little more than a third of the race completed.
Jackie Ickx/James Hunt had a good run through to second place, troubled only by fluctuating oil pressure and a flat tyre on the brand-new Jagermeister-Alpina CSL, while Chris Amon/Hans Stuck lost a one-lap lead when their works CSL stuck in fifth gear and relegated them to third. They had enjoyed a tremendous battle for the lead with the Schnitzer BMW CSL of Henri Pescarolo/Bob Wollek until this car's crankshaft broke. Brian Muir/John Miles retired the Malcolm Gartlan Racing Alpina CSL, entered by Jagerrneister-Alpina, with a blown head gasket, possibly encouraged by a hectic dice with the Fitzpatrick/Larrousse Capri. The Swiss-pairing of Walter Brun/Cox Kocher finished fourth with a third Alpina CSL, using a 3.3-litre engine rather than the 3.5 of the other CSLs.
Peter and John Hanson, from Ilkley, drove superbly and consistently to finish sixth and win Division One for cars up to 2-litres in their ultra-reliable, Broadspeed-built Escort RS with 2-litre alloy engine. — C.R.
Results : Paul Ricard Six Hours—Paul Ricard, France Group 2:
1st : T. Hezemans/D. Quester (3.0 BMW CSL) 924.616 kms. (154.102 k.p.h.)
2nd : J. Ickx/J. Hunt (3.0 BMW-Alpina CSL) 923.798 kms.
3rd : C. Amon/H-J. Stuck (3.0 BMW CSL) 895.346 kms.
4th : W. Brun/C. Kocher (3.0 BMW Alpine CSL) .. 870.066 kms.
5th : J. Stewart/J. Mass (3.0 Ford Capri RS) 858.324 kms.
6th : P. Hanson/J. Hanson (2.0 Ford Escort RS) 847.511 kms.
7th : j-C. Geurie/S. Godard (3.0 Ford Capri RS) 846.878 kms.
Fastest Lap : Henri Pescarolo (3.0 BMW-Schnitzer CSL) and Amon, 2 min. 9.9 sec. (161.016 k.p.h.).